Katina Huston has been a constant presence in Bay Area Art for 30 years. Her exhibit Psychological Ballast examines stability and entropy in abstract terms for these disrupted times. Shadows return as a foundation, pressed against repeating patterns which simultaneously define and disintegrate the initial forms from nature. “I move objects on a page to figure out my life. This year it turned out that I held the stable center.”
Huston suspends objects from studio ceiling and casts light through them, building delicate and ephemeral forms from the resulting shadows. Grass, palm and pine plus toy boat are rendered in ink and acrylic that flows across the mylar. Meaty oil paints push through the lace of drawing in patterns of dot, stripe and plaid. Bicycles as a subject have linked Huston’s work to Duchamp and shadows to Warhol. But if you ask her, she would claim Ann Hamilton, Petah Coyne, Lee Bontecou and Annette Messager as sources.
Katina HustonConfounded Acrylic, ink and oil paint on mylar
36 x 24 inches (unframed)
Katina HustonPalm Shadow Over Silver Dots Acrylic and ink on mylar
36 x 36 inches (unframed)
Katina HustonKatagami Series: Gold Pine on Circle Ink and acrylic on mylar
42 x 36 inches (unframed)
Katina HustonCedar Shadow Over Dots Acrylic and oil paint on Mylar
42 x 36 inches
Katina HustonNorwegian 2 Ink on mylar with oil paints
45 x 48 inches (unframed)
Katina HustonAn Overall Twinkling Effect Ink, oil and acrylic on mylar
4 panels 24 x 12" each, 24 x 48" overall (unframed)
Katina HustonShifting Center of Gravity Acrylic and oil paints on mylar (unframed & incomplete)
24 x 72 inches
Katina HustonK-Drama, in Which Each Element Shapes the Other Through Events Acrylic and oil paint on mylar
60 x 36 inches (unframed)
Katina HustonBends but Does Not Break Ink, acrylic and oil paints on mylar
36 x 36" each 36 x 72" diptych (unframed)
Katina HustonFog Like Dots Ink and acrylic on mylar
72 x 42 inches (unframed)
Katina HustonSquall Ink, acrylic and oil paint on mylar
36 x 88 inches (unframed)
Katina HustonCompass Ink and acrylic on mylar
72 x 72 inches
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., October 15, 2020—Maybaum Gallery is pleased to present a series of new works from Katina Huston. Psychological Ballast is an introspective dive into the artist’s internal conversation about the purpose of art making during tempestuous times. Huston’s latest body of work is a continuation of her effort to capture the in-between-ness of the physical world. A decades-long fascination with shadows returns as a foundation. These are now pressed against repeating patterns that define and disintegrate the other. Psychological Ballast will be on view from October 15- November 30. The gallery is open Tuesday-Saturday 10:30am-5:30pm with strict social distancing protocols in place.
Huston’s long-term focus on shadows advances in this new body of work. Her engagement with objects through their relationship to light bring larger questions about the artist’s practice begin to the fore. What does the artist contribute beyond beauty and what is the meaning of making art? Huston postulates that creating artwork in troubling times provides a psychological ballast, a way to locate and anchor a ones state-of-mind in a year marked with so many unknowns. Huston states:
Making art, particularly this art, is a bit like fiddling as Rome burns. My sphere of influence is small and begins with me and reaches out in small gestures. I paint, and think and write of all the boats in peril. I move objects on a page to figure out my life. This year it turned out that I was the only thing holding the stable center. Beyond the resulting works, artists serve by demonstrating how to hold meaning and value in a void.
In Psychological Ballast Huston’s “stable center” emerges as a selection of modest natural elements writ large. In An Overall Twinkling Effect the shadow of a blooming Rhubekia stretches across a long horizontal. The shifting perspective is broken up over four panels. Composed like the arc of a whale’s breach, the thrust and movement of the long view is found in this unworthy subject—a flower. Grass and palm leaves are rendered in ink and acrylic which flows across the surface of transparent frosted mylar—a signature medium for Huston. Thick oil paints push through the lace of drawing in patterns of dot, stripe and plaid, drawing a contrast between organic and inorganic forms.
Her plant subjects are inundated by patterned forces. The visual tension leaves the viewer jockeying between field and figure only to find themselves caught in a beautiful yet unresolved whole.
About the Artist
Katina Huston b. 1961 is a Bay Area based artist trained in the History of Fine Art at New York University. Her work has been exhibited nationally in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston and New York and internationally in Japan and Sweden. Her drawings are widely collected in permanent collections from San Francisco Fine Art Museums, and Yale University Art Gallery to Steve Wynn's collection at Wynn Casino Las Vegas. Her work has been reviewed in The San Francisco Chronicle, Art & Antiques, ARTnews, ArtWeek and The Boston Globe among many others. Huston currently lives and works in Alameda, California.
About the Gallery
Maybaum Gallery was founded in San Francisco in 2018 by Christina Maybaum. The gallery represents emerging and mid career artists with a focus on process driven work that reveals the artist's hand. Located in downtown San Francisco, the gallery comprises 2,000 square feet of exhibition space for solo shows as well as additional viewing space for our growing roster of artists. In addition to rotating exhibitions, the gallery provides private art consulting services to meet clients' unique art needs.
Katina Huston: Viewing Room