Kristy Gordon returns from New York with more than portraiture

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Kristy Gordon 2013 is on display at Cube Gallery until October 13


Dark Night of the Souls

By Tak Pham




British Columbian artist Kristy Gordon is not an unfamiliar name in important contemporary art communities. At the age of 33, she has received numerous national and international recognitions, has exhibited in five countries, and has representation in Ottawa, New York City and Paris. Recently graduated from Master of Fine Art program at the New York Academy of Art, Gordon’s focus on variation in human emotion has helped her to develop a strong reputation in portraiture. The energy in her works defies the physical passiveness of her subjects, who often come across as introverted and self-reflective.


Gordon’s portraiture practice is closely aligned with her own adventures in self-discovery. Her mission as an artist is to balance the technical application of paint with a contemporary motif. Gordon feels that influences encountered while enrolled art academies such as Toronto’s Academy of Realist Art and the Andreeva Portrait Academy let her explore contemporary themes with a classical, realist style.

In 2012, Gordon pushed her boundaries in a significant painting titled Rise. This self portrait uniquely captured her physical motion by layering a series of movements that depict the artist standing up from a crouching position. Rise can be read to mirror a key stage in Gordon’s journey of self discovery and growth as an artist. The series of movements imitate stop-motion or multiple-exposure photography and can be said to offer a depiction of gravity. The watery treatment in the work makes the painting gentle and translucent, although the physical weight remains implacable.


In her ongoing new show at Ottawa’s Cube Gallery (1285 Wellington St. W), viewers will see evidence of Gordon’s particular artistic development during her time in New York City. Most of the works in the show are from her Masters program at New York Academy of Art and together act as a celebration of her artistic maturity. The subjects in Gordon’s paintings have evolved to become more symbolic, more engaging, and more action-oriented. They are by turns bashful, such as in the work called Nevermore (it depicts a drag queen dozing on a chair) and dynamic, as in Dark Night of the Souls, which seems like something out of Shakespeare.