Battlescapes and Illuminations
works by Kristen van Diggelen Sloan
Center for the Arts | Dalton Gallery
121 E. Main St. Rock Hill, SC
May 16 - June 11 , 2022
Friday, June 10, 2022
with DJ Andy K
Battlescapes and Illuminations is a solo exhibition by Kristen van Diggelen Sloan presenting a sampling of selected works from her years as an emerging artist to the present. Underlying themes throughout her work include the spiritual nature of reality, invisible realms, current events, and autobiographical narratives.
“…beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and the devil are fighting there and the battlefield is the heart of man.” – Fyodor Dostoevesky, The Brothers Karamazov
Living and creating on a farm in rural South Carolina, the serenity of nature permeates Sloan’s work. Her art practice is a contemplative pursuit in the visualization of the invisible, an exploration of that beautiful, treacherous battlefield within us. Maneuvering through the rooms of our inner landscape, she also engages our current times and her ongoing research into psychology, scientific revelations on nature’s deep design, and contemplative practices of the world’s Great Religions and indigenous cultures.
Sloan explores her ideas primarily through oil painting, and both ceramic and virtual sculpting. Her artworks are influenced by her ongoing research and developing spiritual practice, and each one is an integral piece in much larger conceptual puzzle that is meant to crystalize over time.
Sloan’s paintings are a contemporary approach to Baroque painting where light is symbolic, represented objects are metaphors, and transcendence is unearthed in the most mundane of places. Her often monumentally sized pictures are hybridizations of different painting genres, and her varied approaches are demonstrative through penetrable landscapes, hyper reflective mandalas and magnified still-lifes.
Her more recent Mandala Series seeks to transform the signification of the subject matter (eg. bullets form a mandala) by combining Western symbolism (light rays, halos, crowns) with an Eastern meditation object – the mandala. Sacred geometry was used to find an ideal, visually balanced, infinite pattern – the dimensions of the concentric circles in the mandalas were found by dividing the radius of each circle by Phi (the golden ratio) - R/Phi squared, cubed and so on until the circles disappear into the center of the painting.
Sloan’s stoneware vessels are inspired by the Southern craft tradition of the face jug as well as by female figures from various religious practices and histories. The figures are constructed with hand-built, wheel-thrown and plaster sprig mold techniques. She is currently making her newest sculptures in Virtual Reality.
Sloan’s current oil paintings are of reflective veils, garments and emergency blankets that mirror imagery from her studio, previous artworks, immigrants at the American border and scenes from the War in Ukraine. Sloan makes us question the importance of what is being concealed, revealed, and reflected back at us.
Sloan looks to Baroque still life painting to peer, dimly, into the riddles of common experience – to find transcendence within the mundane; specifically, Zurbaran for using objects to reference an underlying person or narrative; Emma Webster for painting in theatrically structured virtual space, and Jay DeFeo for merging illusion with abstraction. The scale of her larger works function within a similar discourse Mark Rothko used to describe his pictures: “…you are in it, it is not a reducing commanding experience, but one that is human and intimate.”
KRISTEN VAN DIGGELEN SLOAN
website | https://vandiggelensloan.com
Kristen van Diggelen Sloan in a first-generation American born in Berkeley, California. Her work explores the complexities of the human interior through large-scale oil paintings and sculptures. Sloan received her BA in Visual Art from UCLA in 2006, and her MFA in Painting from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2009 where she received the prestigious Graduate Fellowship in Painting. She has exhibited her work nationally at Art Basel, Miami, Art Chicago, the New Wright Gallery in Los Angeles, at The Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, The Diego Rivera Gallery in San Francisco and in Charlotte, NC at The McColl Center for the Arts, Anne Neilson Fine Art, The Brooklyn Collective and SOZO Gallery. She taught Painting at the San Francisco Art Institute and has received numerous awards and nominations. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Luxe Interiors + Design and 7×7 Magazine among others. She relocated from San Francisco to the Carolinas in 2014, and currently lives and works on a farm in York County, SC.
Works by Molly Lastra
EXHIBITION | May 20 - June 11, 2022
RECEPTION | Friday, June 10, 2022 | 6 PM
Molly Lastra's painting practice utilizes plant-based imagery as a symbolism of fragility, growth, and strength. The flora she incorporates into her work communicates the parallels between human and nature. The cyclical and ever-changing environment is reflected in her, and vice versa. Lastra often works with acrylic on canvas, superimposing natural imagery with bright colors. She combines realistic leaves, which carry with them a history of culture and tradition-based symbolism, with vibrant color blocking to convey the dichotomy between sickness and wellness.
website | https://www.mollylastra.com
Molly Lastra is based out of Rock Hill, South Carolina, where she paints at her in-home studio. Lastra primarily works with acrylic on canvas, but also enjoys painting with gouache, which she uses when she travels or paints outside. Molly spends a lot of time outside where she takes pictures of leafy things, like ferns, monstera plants, and elephant ears. She incorporates greenery into most of her work, which includes environmental imagery and symbolism. Molly is incredibly grateful for time spent outside and can frequently be found stooped down in the woods checking out a wildflower or examining an interesting plant.
Molly Lastra received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2013 from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She has participated in both group and solo exhibitions in New Hampshire, Boston, New York, Rhode Island, Charlotte, and Rock Hill. Most recently, her work has been published, and she was also lucky enough to work with Shepard Fairey at the end of 2021.
Support for this project is provided by the Arts Council of York County Small Grants Program and the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.