Sitting at the cross-section of painting, sculpture and installation, Alison Blickle’s work (featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 28) simultaneously floats loftily into an imaginary realm while grounding itself in the real world. Her current solo show at Kravets Wehby Gallery in New York, “History of Magic, Part II… Initiation,” is a series of rich, detailed oil paintings that function as snapshots into Blickle’s myth-like narrative of a mystical woman. In last year’s solo show at Eleanor Harwood Gallery in San Francisco, “History of Magic, Part I… The Hermitage,” Blickle told the story of a woman determined to create an object that would change the world. Her current exhibition at Kravets Wehby functions as the second chapter to her tale, where sorceresses prepare our protagonist to travel the world with the magical vessel she has made.
Each painting is surrounded by tangible objects arranged in an altar-like fashion — glazed, hand-built ceramics that appear to come out of the world Blickle has arranged on the gallery walls. Her painted work is imbued with vivid, tapestry-like patterns that swathe not only the interiors, but the skins of her characters as well. The ceramics, in contrast, are simple and often rudimentary, created with an aesthetic that rings more of Abstract Expressionism than of Blickle’s precise painting style, where everything appears to be planned out down to the last wrinkle of fabric and curly ringlet of hair. This quality makes the ceramics appear to be of another time — which brings the artist’s interplay between past and present, real and imagined full circle.
“History of Magic, Part II — Initiation” is on view at Kravets Wehby Gallery in New York City through April 26.