About the Exhibition
In her first solo exhibition at Reynolds Gallery, Katia Santibañez explores a variety of mediums including paintings, hand colored prints, ink drawings and stoneware jugs. A common theme links the pieces featured in this show together: the spiral.
The core and origin of this body of work is her ink drawing, “AND YET”. This work is the earliest piece on view and was created at the start of the pandemic when Santibañez first left New York City for her home in Massachusetts. Being left with a somewhat bare studio and minimal supplies, Santibañez decided to work with what she had – paper, blue and red acrylic ink. What resulted was a distorted circle, and the beginning of the same element that is seen repeatedly throughout this new collection of work. In a time period of complete uncertainty, Santibañez felt that this endless circle properly illustrated her fear and confusion for what was to come.
For her works on canvas, Santibañez had to readapt to using oil paint, a medium she hadn’t experimented with in years. Her color palette is usually premeditated and complementary with the first color indicating the next. Throughout the process, she is constantly responding to what the painting is telling her through additions of detailed lines and color variation. Once her paintings are complete, Santibañez claims that she finally “achieves peace”.
Santibañez includes a number of hand colored etchings on paper in this exhibition. With the help of Tony Kirk, a master printer, the two artists created a copper etching that was used for all of the featured prints. The various selections of watercolor allow each “matrix” to present what appear to be completely different compositions, although they all are fabricated from the same etching.
In addition, Santibañez introduces stoneware jugs made jointly with artist Mike Bulleau. Bulleau’s distorted jugs were inspired by a plastic bottle crushed by his dog, Whiskey. The shape of the crushed, imperfect bottle is echoed in each ceramic piece, and the result collaborated seamlessly with Katia’s distorted spirals. Each jug is meticulously and carefully decorated by Santibañez in pencil and acrylic ink and this all new medium completes her latest body of work.
I have been exploring the idea of repetitions and differences while observing forms existing within natural elements, such as trees, snails, leaves, and roots. This passion led me to address the concept of chaos in politics, climate change, and psychology. I first encountered the spiral after finding snails on an island in the South of France. Depending on my mood, it can reflect positive or negative energy. My eyes and mind can travel inside it, constantly moving. It refers to natural forms such as hurricanes, moving waters, memories, and spinning wheels not leaving my mind; you can move forward or inward. I associate it with fear, confusion, collapse, endlessness, hope, and a new beginning. Distorted spirals can overlap, expand, and retract, increasing the idea of chaos or bringing our minds to a meditative and reflective state. They reflect the state of societal and ecological turmoil. Are we free to choose which direction we want to take? Do we have the power to move forward, upward, backward, or downward? It depends on what we wish to be: chaos or harmony!
About the Artist
Katia Santibañez is a multidisciplinary artist engaging with vibrant and complex structures through painting, video, drawing, printmaking and photography. She is inspired by nature and architecture, using her grids to structure the worlds she creates. Her residency at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, as well as her time spent at the American Academy in Rome have greatly inspired her work. Born in Paris, France, she studied microbiology and biochemistry before attending the Ecole Superieure des Beaux Arts in Paris. She currently resides in New York City as well as in the Berkshires town of Otis, Massachusetts, with her husband and fellow artist, James Siena. Her work has been included in collections at the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center, the International Print Center, the Brooklyn Museum, among many others. She was a recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant in 2021.