Exhibition review: Macrocosm at Lazarides Rathbone

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Originally featured on The Upcoming.
By Anna Souter.

I was recently lucky enough to attend the private view of works by Icelandic artist Katrin Fridriks at Lazarides Rathbone. This foray into abstract art was refreshingly colourful and made for an enjoyable evening. 

Upon walking into Lazarides Rathbone, the viewer is immediately struck by how colourful the works on show are. On every wall are large canvases, bright white, blue and red, covered with fascinatingly perfect splashes of paint in every colour. Immediately, you begin to ask yourself how they have been achieved. The smooth, tactile surface of the paint is made up of several colours, which have maintained a clear distinction despite being mixed together like strands in an unravelling tapestry.

The artist is Katrin Fridriks, an Icelandic conceptual artist and abstract painter. Her practice involves using a carefully honed technique where she creates swirling shapes by splashing paint across canvases. The results are visually engaging paintings which are refreshingly unapologetic in their celebration of colour. These works have a surprising spatial dimension, and seem to unfold the longer you look at them, revealing hidden depths within the paint. New perspectives seem to jump out as your eyes rove the canvas.

In the second room, two canvases are painted in tones of black, white and grey. If anything, these works feel even more intricate than their colourful counterparts. One of these paintings is part of an installation, “Perception of the Stendhal Syndrome”. A huge magnifying glass hangs in the centre of the room, and the viewer is encouraged to look at the painting through it, exploring it both at a distance and in depth.

This relates to the title of the show, “Macrocosm”, which refers to an awareness of the existence of everything in the universe, and one’s own smallness within that context. On the other hand, Fridriks’ intricate paintings themselves also represent microcosms within the larger macrocosm. The canvas included in the installation is particularly, and appropriately, cosmic, with daubs of paint poured, dripped and smudged into a shape recalling a galaxy of stars or “big bang” explosion.

It’s a shame that the installation hasn’t been given more space, nor a clearer delineation in the gallery notes. On entering the gallery, it’s hard to tell what the magnifying glass is for, and what you’re supposed to look at through it. Nevertheless, the concept is still an interesting one, and the paintings on show are intriguing. It’s certainly worth getting lost in the worlds of abstract paint Katrin Fridriks creates.

4 stars
Find out more on the Lazarides Rathbone website here.

Anna Souter is an arts writer and editor based in London. See her website for more information.

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