Fore artist spotlight
b. 1980, New York, NY
Lives and works in Hudson, NY
Kianja Strobert engages the language and history of twentieth-century painting while working against many of the ideas associated with it. For example, Strobert is uninterested in monumentality or the totalizing language of the “masterpiece,” as embraced by abstraction of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Rather, she methodically and repetitively works through the materiality of paint, experimenting with gesture, texture and
color as inherent yet malleable conditions of the medium. In her newer series of works, swirls of warm reds and oranges layer and intermingle with swaths of muted gray. In one work, quick daubs of expressionist strokes contrast with a straight, narrow line that cuts a vertical swath through the paint, not unlike the famous “zips” of painter Barnett Newman. In another, Strobert isolates splotches of color on the paper, where they faintly resemble numbers or letters, echoes of Jasper Johns’s representations of signage.
Despite the absence of figuration, Strobert’s hand and gesture are palpable, revealing physicality embedded in the textured surface. Seen in tandem, the paintings are meant to work as experimental serial variations that provide an increased focus on materials.
—Abbe Schriber, Curatorial Assistant, The Studio Museum in Harlem
images: All Untitled, 2012. Courtesy the artist and Zach Feuer Gallery, New York; first photo: Adam Reich