SENTRY | Solo Show by artist Kate Kelton
Opening reception: Friday, February 1, 2019
sen·try | \ ˈsen-trē \
Definition: a member of a guard or watch
Battle-weary headdresses and the crumbling crowns of yore, deify Kate Kelton subjects.
Her portraits are cloaked in the garb of statues Ladislav Šaloun sculpted onto the Central Train Station and Ministry of Industry buildings, which her great-grandfather Josef Fanta designed in Prague (1901 - 1934.) In Photoshop, she combines desaturated faces of her chosen subjects, with black and white photos of the statues, in situ. Then graphite, inks and acrylics are used to create the final works on wood, paper or canvas. Literally uplifting and elevating her subjects to architectural strata, Kelton explores the relationship between the permanence given these monolith buildings in Europe and the power emanating from these monumental women.
"Kate's recent work is a matter of expansion through contrast - she is as ephemeral as her subjects are concrete architecture; she is structural when her subjects should slip through your fingers like too-fine sand. Taken as a whole, the works in her magnificent series Sentry are incredibly intelligent, but when looked at individually, you come to understand that these are statements of life beyond themselves.
The series take embellishments of a Prague train station designed by her great-granfather, Josef Fanta, and combines these with portraits of women who have stood against the sexual harassment and assault rampant in Hollywood. These women, like Kate herself, have suffered in the era where powerful men, every bit as immovable as the train station, wielded their power without check. The portraits emblazoned on architectural elements, they are marked against the edifice, every bit as permanent, and perhaps even more defining.
If you approach those as portraits, you're taking the moment but missing the permanence. If you take them as statuary, you're missing the fact that they are, in fact, alive within those gazes. It's really incredible how much a shift of the light, a dart of the eye, can turn each of them from a memorial into a promise."