Caroline Kent “This space for correspondence”

Casey Kaplan

poster for Caroline Kent “This space for correspondence”

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Casey Kaplan presents Caroline Kent: This space for correspondence, an exhibition of monumental unstretched paintings with new wall-based sculptures in relief, stretched acrylic paintings, and site-specific wall cut-outs.

“This space for correspondence” is a directive often written on the back of a postcard denoting a designated area for a brief message. Postcards have become an insignia for nostalgia and the “old ways” of communication. This once-beloved labor of conveying sentimental inclinations, sublime experiences of new landscapes and architectures, and a particular type of longing is now encapsulated in a few lines penned on a 2x2-inch square, opposite images of idealized locations.

In a new body of acrylic paintings on canvas, Kent instigates sites for interpretation through emboldened black surfaces of overlapping forms, gestured through radiant and hushed tones. Her markings, in their open play, signify a type of schematic akin to asemic writing (a wordless open semantic form of writing), divulging an impression of meaning that is declarative yet inaudible. Geometric forms are recalled and recomposed from Kent’s ongoing archive of paintings on paper in which arrangements of shapes are constructed in a daily, diaristic exercise. In this way, Kent’s paintings come into being through a process that parallels how one’s personhood is actualized through constant experimentation and discernment.

An uncanny hierarchy is suggested through shadows and familiar impressions marked through sculptural relief and recess. Shapes from nearby paintings are configured into totemic formations and cut into the gallery’s walls in counter-relief, an inverse and presence of familiar and absent entities. The wall cut-outs frame two large-scale unstretched paintings, intimating columns flanking a threshold for mindful crossing.

White, stark relief structures pierce this aesthetic field with a lack of painterly gesture. Like extensions of the gallery’s walls, these forms emerge and give dimension to a memory. Several contain paintings on Belgian linen, their intimate scale compelling distilled compositions like the aforementioned square for correspondence. Imprints of memories, definitive and unreliable, are embedded in our psyches. They are idealized real fiction, not unlike a postcard’s broken dialectic of image and text, enigmatic in their want for connection. We are left in a state of eternal interpretation, turning over and over to remember what is on the other side.

Caroline Kent, The stillness of life when we look back, 2023, Acrylic on Belgian linen and walnut, MDF, 77.78 x 73.36 x 3” / 197.56 x 186.33 x 7.62cm. Photo: Dan Bradica
Caroline Kent received a B.S. from Illinois State University (1998) and an M.F.A. from The University of Minnesota (2008). Kent’s work has been exhibited in institutions such as The Museum of Modern Art, NY; The Guggenheim Museum, NY; the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, CA; The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; The Walker Art Center, MN; The DePaul Art Museum, Chicago; The California African American Museum, LA; The Flag Art Foundation, NY; The Suburban, Oak Park, IL; and the University Galleries of Illinois State University. Kent has received grants from The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, and The Jerome Foundation. Additionally, the artist is the 2021 recipient of the Studio Museum in Harlem’s Joyce Alexander Wein Prize, the 2020 Joan Mitchell Award for Painters and Sculptors, and was selected as an Artadia Foundation Chicago awardee in 2020. Kent’s work is a part of numerous public collections including the Hammer Museum, CA, the Guggenheim Museum, NY, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, CA, the Walker Art Center, MN, the Weisman Art Museum, MN, The Art Institute of Chicago, IL, the New Orleans Museum of Art, LA, the Dallas Museum of Art, TX, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art, MN, among others. Kent is an Assistant Professor of Painting at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. She lives and works in Chicago, IL.



from November 09, 2023 to December 22, 2023


Caroline Kent

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