Blog featuring artwork of Wes Freese

Kristine Moran Paintings

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"Chloris Into Flora", 2008

In my blog post titled “On Painting” from last summer, I mentioned the painter Kristine Moran and spoke fondly of her work.  I’ve recently come back to reviewing her work and musing on what it is she’s painting about.

Her paintings often depict interior spaces such as night club dressing rooms, show rooms and private parlors that cast a dark, seedy pall on the tenor of the imagery.  Her fictionalized settings house semblences of female human figures embroiled in a weird recombination of the organic / biological and the architectural.   Cocophanous clouds of flesh, boat oars, wooden bannisters, wolves, chairs and rope lines collide in an unusual frenzy of violent activity.  But as opposed to her earlier student paintings that illustrated total destruction, here the frenzied collisions result in a chrysalis of something apparently new.  Moran hints at a generated result both grotesque and glorious, although the viewer can’t quite be sure exactly what that result will be.  This interior calamity seems to represent a psychological place within the human mind, of identity and a metamorphosis of some sort.  I can’t help but think that Moran is coming to identify with the human Id in her work, and either consciously or unconsciously trying to draw from that realm and take chances in her work.   Not all of Kristine’s paintings represent interiors, as some illustrate spaces that seem to allude to a natural world with snow and forests.  Others are set on public sidewalks next to buildings.  Yet the violent events of some sort of disaster / rebirth remains central in those exterior environments as well.   


"You Used To Be Alright, What Happened?", 2008

Moran’s early student work imaged car crashes and other such catstrophic events, of objects at a high rate of speed coming to a rapid stop via collisions with other objects in motion.  From there she developed paintings representing environments, cities and urban dwellings reorganized and reconstituted by Moran to reflect an idea of urban failure bouyed by humanity’s hunger for a utopian society.  Moran’s latest work, created mostly while completing her MFA at Hunter College in New York, appears to represent the evolution of an analytical thought process on her part, combining her previous painting themes together with a newfound emphasis on the human figure resulting in a new, as of yet unspecified whole.  Along with the uniqueness of subject matter there also appears to be incremental steps in her painting technique away from a traditional formalism towards a non-representational impulse in gestural painting and a more robust, juicy color palette.  See “Leda and the Swan” and “The Gift”.  While her current transmographic narrative seems darker and signifies mankind after the Fall (tragedy), there exists an excitement about it all.  See “You Used To Be Alright, What Happened”, “Unravelling of Self”, “Collapse of Will”.  The paintings exemplify a joy in the process and craft of painting, which for me comes through in an exhuberant manner.

"The Gift", 2008

"The Gift", 2008

Originally from Canada, Kristine now lives and works in New York, and is represented by  The Nicelle Beauchene Gallery was included in the recent NADA Art Fair in Miami this month, and Kristine’s work was apparently shown there.  Best of luck to a relatively new and intriguing painter.  Moran’s website here.


"The Garden", 2008


Written by Wes Freese

December 9, 2008 at 2:41 am

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