Kathrin Longhurst Solo Show “Sum of its parts”
The title for my latest series of works, and my first with .M Contemporary, is inspired by the saying that the ‘whole is greater than the sum of its parts.’ That is, we achieve better results by combining resources and working together than working alone.
Synergy has always been central to my work as a figurative painter, and the pieces on display here are no exception. Throughout the process I worked in complete collaboration with eight models, without whom none of these paintings would be possible. The result: a merging of creative energies that represent a strong message of female empowerment. One that combines my own life experiences with each of my sitter’s narratives.
The works are also a snapshot of where I am in this moment. These mostly monochrome paintings are inspired by a recent overseas trip to the US: from Andy Warhol’s Pittsburgh to New York, the epicentre of Western Street and Pop Art. I’ve used a different colour palette for each, from cool to warm tones. The red, orange and yellows provoke a sense of anger, rage and passion while the cooler greens and blues give the figures a sculptural air, like the oversized marble statues of past leaders, emperors and dictators. Stripping away natural skin tones also subverts the realism of traditional figurative painting, promoting my subjects to symbols and/or archetypes. As such they represent how I like to see them: larger than life, towering over the viewer, and unashamedly themselves.
Kathrin Longhurst’s visual language collides with the starting point of her own journey, as a child of the cold-war era, who has been to both sides of the iron-curtain. The contrast between war-propaganda imagery and glamorous promises of the other side of the wall, have been the inspirations of her early works. Longhurst reconsidered war propaganda aesthetics with ‘flying’ female warriors, in place of fearsome male figures of power. Her early works aim to bend the visual paradigm of men and women at war, imposed by the patriarchal power structures of the past. Longhurst’s initial approach is self-observational, rewriting the recent history to empower the idea of a gender-equal future.