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Kathryn Geismar

paintings and collages

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art by somerville artist Kathryn  Geismar titled  The Myth of Gravity
The Myth of Gravity Oil on Canvas 48x48

Artist's Statement

 I am not one and simple, but complex and many.                                           -- Virginia Woolf, The Waves


My work explores the complex and often fragmentary nature of identity through portraits and abstract collage. 

My recent figurative series depicts adolescents ranging in age from 14-21.  These young adults are claiming an identity in an age when binary definitions of self no longer hold much meaning.  Materials include industrial Tyvek, canvas, translucent veils of mylar, graphite, newsprint, inks and acrylic paint. Figures move in and out of focus; layers of mylar promote looking through to substrata; grommets pierce through layers at times like jewelry and at other times like windows into what lies below. 

Collages use newsprint or Tyvek “catchalls” as a jumping off point. Catchalls are the paper drop cloths that catch unintentional marks and drips but also the ghosts of objects and paper shapes painted on top of them.  These ghosts and their unintentional mark-making are catalysts for new ideas: they are torn, sliced, and overlaid and then joined with graphite marks, painted lines and drips, tracing paper scraps, grommets, and fragments of drawings. What is often discarded becomes generative seeds for new works; what was once disparate and fragmented becomes part of a newly-found whole. 

In each instance, faces, shapes, and materials, are placed next to or on top of one another, asking, “what happens, who am I, what changes, when I land here?”

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