This new body of work foregrounds Katelyn Eichwald’s ability to meditate on pregnant instances, pausing and sitting in repose. Rather than pushing for clarification, she edges on it, setting out to capture a feeling that of going too far, unable to turn back. The tension in her paintings evoke a sense of longing where placidity can transform into nearly anything. Fecundity is the operation at hand, and easy resolution is constantly at stake. The facelessness of these compositions also contributes to meandering desires. She captures the private symbolism of Munch, with obscure figures haunting several canvases. These works literally barter in narrative, with source materials displaced from linear contexts. The occasional wreckage or eruption looms behind certain paintings, rendering the visible material all the more eerie. The subject matter expands out like barren countrysides, roads leading to somewheres disguised as nowheres. The works embody the serenity of wandering, and the potential of discovery in arrested moments.
Illuminated manuscripts, Rilke’s poetics, Looney Tunes backgrounds, the films of Kelly Reichardt, classic frescoes, and Rodin’s sculptures are just a few of Eichwald’s departure points. Historicity is crucial to the process; allowing the free flow of ideas to culminate in flashes of assumed quietude. The delicacy of Seurat’s warmly hued landscapes brushing up against Andrew Cranston’s quiet interiors; this is where Eichwald mediates her own world, securing footing in oceans of ideas and precedents. These are paintings to be watched, waded in. She massages out romanticism and melancholy at once. The intimate gives way to the universal and vice versa. The artist’s palette, on the other hand, remains in constant disarray. The chaos is calculated by way of her need to “get it out” on the canvas… these are ideas begging to be expressed. Eichwald drives paint into the canvas or else allows it to float on the surface à la Chapel’s tombstones and Never’s Roman numerals. The materiality of linen aids in this process, as oil seeps into or else avoids its contours.
Scale and volume produce a strong sense of visual language, immersing the viewer in these delicate compositions. Each painting has its own grammar, it is the painter’s endeavor to make the syntax work. She edits images, removing pigments to the brink of collapse. One is led to a cliff’s edge… Eichwald builds a stage there. Mise-en-scènes are containers for a feeling, puzzles with fickle edges. Plein-air landscapes exist in collaboration with more focused studies; zooming in and out for the sake of particular enthusiasms. Eichwald's project is settled into “quiet and hidden tendencies to something personal” in keeping with Rilke’s poetic call to action. She captures sensuousness in the flaming heavens of Tower With Orange Sky and an impending storm in Love’s. The latter is successful in its ability to frame a foreboding disaster alongside banal Americana, therefore conjoining the two in unresolved suspension. These sorts of entanglements are to be taken advantage of, a task which Eichwald resolves herself to, while also imbuing her imaginal fields with a resounding sense of decisiveness. Here is where perturbation volleys with harmony.
Text by Reilly Davidson