MAIN SPACE EXHIBITION
SEPTEMBER 5 – SEPTEMBER 27, 1987
RECEPTION: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 1987 AT 8PM
LOCATION: STRIDE GALLERY
722, 11 AVE S.W, CALGARY, ALBERTA
EVE KOCH was born in 1949 in Medicine Hat, AB and moved to Calgary in 1961. She attended the University of Calgary, majoring in painting and lithography and received a BFA degree in 1973. In 1975 she graduated from the University of Cincinnati, Ohio with an MFA degree, painting major. Eve has lived in Calgary since returning from the States, and was employed in various occupations including counseling and systems management. Painting has been the major goal in her life, and in 1985 she resumed painting as a full-time career.
“An authentic work of art is a very mysterious object which, ultimately, had an undeniable reality; making art is alchemy. Matter may constitute the stuff of our quotidian existence, but in art it must be coupled with the spiritual; painting must be a transformation.” -George Peck
Eve Koch’s illusionist paintings each embody a tightly sealed world rife with intriguing contradictions. An encounter with her work is like reading a visual poem; meandering through the images, assembling the clues, deciphering her refined language of opposition.
A heightened, believable realism characterizes her painting style; glass beads, wooden toys, metal tools, flowers, plastic rings are rendered with meticulous attention, enhancing their reflective, translucent, textural and three-dimensional qualities, convincing the eye that they are within tangible reach. Yet these rather ordinary objects, replicated with obsessive care, exist in an environment that is distinctly abstract. Grid-like systems of repetitious geometric patterns dominate the environmental settings and are often formed by the objects themselves, thus removing them from their comfortable places in a known reality.
Koch’s paintings appear simple, placid and unassuming at first glance, largely due to the easy recognition of the images presented, the subdued color range and the flawless paint surfaces. Closer scrutiny reveals a wealth of curious complexities; images multiply and interconnect profusion, solid objects emerge through ephemeral transparent mirages, frozen fixations become mutable. Objects of mundane character assume strange auras as they become transformed into peculiar entities by way of isolation or multiplication. The economy of images used, and their discriminating selection by the artist, is superseded by a dreamlike atmosphere. The stabilizing internal logic of the paintings, established primarily by the connecting and linking of repeated images within a mechanical pattern, co-exists with transitional action as objects float free of binding structures, interpenetrate or metamorphosis into enigmatic forms. External worlds of reality collide with inner depths of animated reverie.
Even the thick, glacial skins of acrylic paint on these comfortably scaled paper and canvas paintings are deceptive. The smooth surfaces reveal nothing of the artist’s labor-intensive process, employed to achieve a highly resolved realism and multiple spatial illusions. The sanded, matte finish deny the artist’s touch. Delicate brush strokes, marks from pencils, the collaging of paper cut-outs and transfers, and the methodical layering of paint glazed are deliberately hidden under transparent coatings of gloss medium (often as many as 150 layers) to disguise the making of the painting, to further the illusion. Oddly enough this strategy succeeds in making the works seem less like three-dimensional fictions on flat surfaces and more “real”. They are convincingly concrete objects, inside of which live worlds unto themselves, encased securely within plastic windows.
Koch’s paintings seduce with their vivid, illusionist appeal; playful, enticing. Once the exploration of these enigmatic microcosms begins one must succumb to a wavering struggle; confront the vulnerability of life and the fierceness of death within their calm surfaces.