Kate Teale: “The Housed” @ Opalka Gallery [Get Visual]

Kate Teale:: (left) Raft 2009; (right) Floating World 2010
Kate Teale:: (left) Raft 2009; (right) Floating World 2010

Review by David Brickman

While lovers enjoyed flowers and chocolates on Valentine’s weekend, I’ve got a different suggestion for lovers of art: good ol’ drawing and painting. In a world overstuffed with postmodernist theorists, it’s a tonic to walk into Sage College of Albany’s Opalka Gallery and see graphite on paper and oils on board by the extremely talented Kate Teale, an English artist now established in New York City, who should be a household name, but was a new discovery for me.

Teale’s exhibition of six graphite drawings and 18 oil paintings, titled The Housed, was curated by Don Desmett at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo and is on tour. It also includes a couple of extremely long (about 30-foot) digital prints from original drawings and a large direct-wall drawing that was executed on-site with student help. The installation suits the high, open space of the Opalka perfectly, allowing the larger works and groupings to breathe, while melding into a cohesive whole that the viewer can digest in reasonable bites.

Teale’s style and technique border on photo-realism; however, she also flirts with formal abstraction, as she explores her subjects of rumpled beds, seascapes, windows and the human form nearly as dispassionately as a scientist studies a lab rat. Not that the work is cold – in fact, it feels intensely personal – but that Teale takes the position of an outsider looking in at herself and her intimate surroundings.

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