Katrin Fridriks: Macrocosm at Lazarides Rathbone
Upon walking into Lazarides Rathbone, the viewer is immediately struck by how vibrant the works on show are. On every wall are large canvases, bright white, blue and red, covered with fascinatingly perfect splashes of paint in every colour, immediately prompting the question of how they have been achieved. The smooth, tactile surface of the paint is made up of several colours, which have maintained a clear distinction despite being mixed together like strands in an unravelling tapestry.
Katrin Fridriks is an Icelandic conceptual artist and abstract painter. Her practice involves using a carefully honed technique where she creates swirling shapes by splashing paint across canvases. The results are visually engaging pieces that are refreshingly unapologetic in their celebration of colour. The works have a surprising spatial dimension and seem to unfold the longer one looks at them, revealing hidden depths within the paint. New perspectives seem to jump out as the eyes rove across the surface.
In the second room, two canvases are painted in tones of black, white and grey. If anything, these works feel even more intricate than their colourful counterparts. One of them is part of an installation, Perception of the Stendhal Syndrome – a huge magnifying glass hangs in the centre of the room and the viewer is encouraged to look at the painting through it, exploring it both at a distance and in depth.
This relates to the title of the show, Macrocosm, which refers to an awareness of the existence of everything in the universe and one’s own smallness within that context. On the other hand, Fridriks’ intricate paintings themselves also represent microcosms within the larger macrocosm. The canvas included in the installation is particularly and appropriately cosmic, with daubs of paint poured, dripped and smudged into a shape recalling a galaxy of stars or a “big bang” explosion.
It’s a shame that the installation hasn’t been given more space, or a clearer delineation in the gallery notes. On entering, it’s hard to tell what the magnifying glass is for and what you’re supposed to look at through it. Nevertheless, the concept is still an interesting one, and what is on show is intriguing. It’s certainly worth getting lost in the worlds of abstract paint that Katrin Fridriks creates.
Katrin Fridriks: Macrocosm is at Lazarides Rathbone from 13th May until 9th June 2016, for further information visit here.