Caitlin Keogh: A Passion for Fashion and Anatomy
In Caitlin Keogh's debut solo show, Loose Ankles, at Bortolami Gallery, fragmented female body parts and sweet fashion accessories make for a perfect union. The near dozen acrylic-based paintings, comprised of seven large canvases and four smaller pieces, reveal deep fashion references and showcase a woman's figure in a suspended surrealist state. Keogh, 35, a native Alaskan now based in Brooklyn, has both fashion and art in her DNA. Growing up around her artist father and seamstress mother, the Bard MFA alum grew up visiting museums, galleries, sewing, knitting, and hanging around her family's bookshop/art gallery. Keogh has been flipping through the pages of W since she was ten, that seed for style was planted early on and has been explored throughout her art career trajectory. After college, she became a technical illustrator for a shoe designer, which is highly evident in the clean and precise lines found in her paintings. Keogh's process consists of initial drawings which are duplicated and then enlarged onto a canvas with the use of a grid. It's all done by hand and free of digital tools, placing Keogh in an almost craftsman-like and artisanal role.
In the show Loose Ankles, specifically in the piece Interiors, we see broken Barbie body parts that float in mid-air, while gripping tassels contrasted against a checkered backdrop. In Renaissance Painting, a bust form complemented with pretty botanicals on an elegant blue foreground shows off a charming, old-world sensibility. Keogh's fashion production expertise comes alive in this exhibit, there are traces of a pattern maker's exquisite detailing, tidbits of essential fashion history, combined with a lovely ode to the female figure. In the paintings Headless Woman with Parrot and Correspondences, the woman's body is represented as a vessel for vitality and productivity, anchored in a delicious shade of pastel yellow. In the title work Loose Ankles, humor and chicness collide in the form of well-heeled feet and a human hand copping a smoke.
Loose Ankles was on view from September 8th, 2016 to October 29, 2016 at the Bortolami Gallery, New York. Keogh has also exhibited at the Whitney Museum and is currently in the group show Mauvaises Herbes at the Simon Lee Gallery in Hong Kong.