Maria Kreyn, “Body,” graphite on Mylar, 12 x 12 inches

Have you seen the drawings by artist Maria Kreyn? If you haven’t, there will be a great opportunity at Paul Booth Gallery in New York City in just a few weeks. Details here!

Paul Booth Gallery will open “May You Live in Interesting Times” on August 19; it’s a solo exhibition of recent drawings by artist Maria Kreyn. On view through September 9, the exhibition showcases Kreyn’s dynamic compositions in graphite and charcoal that explore themes of humanity with intense emotional depth. “The exhibition takes its name from a purported Chinese curse,” the gallery writes, “and while the works examine darkness, they do not dwell in the negative. [Kreyn’s] expressive use of light and shadow describe the passage of time, and repeatedly touch on the commonalities of the great themes of the human condition.

Maria Kreyn, “In the Wake,” graphite on Mylar, 53 x 40 inches

“Kreyn’s imagery often mines traditional western art historical iconography, as well as industrial and wartime photography. Her compositions are montages that seem to celebrate contradiction and the unpredictable nature of the future.

Maria Kreyn, “Pilgrims,” graphite on Mylar, 16 x 20 inches

“The cumulative effect is that of a recording of history, a documentary, personal or otherwise, depicted in a non-linear, existentialist manner. In ‘Hands,’ a drawing that depicts a set of Dürer-like hands covered with pigment, the use of charcoal itself becomes of a metaphor for the very act of creation, i.e., the work of being an artist is sullying in and of itself, and getting dirty is vital to the creative process. In this image, charcoal dust seems to be a metaphor for both drawing and for quite viscerally being the very stuff of life.

Maria Kreyn, “Dye Job,” graphite on Mylar, 14 1/2 x 14 1/2 inches

“In ‘Pilgrims,’ she depicts three reclining figures in foreshortened views that recall Mantegna’s ‘Lamentation of Christ.’ Their lower legs each give off cast shadows that seem to depict perspective on a consistent ground plane where the three figures lie exhausted, resting, recuperating. Our eye level as a viewer is on the same ground plane. The result is that the scene becomes a commonality. Their journey is ours, too, Kreyn seems to say.

Maria Kreyn, “The Card Game,” graphite on Mylar, 14 1/2 x 14 1/2 inches

“Nautical themes are common in Kreyn’s work, and the piece ‘Elections, What Goes Up’ seems to evoke The Odyssey and its famous captain and charismatic leader Ulysses. But in Kreyn’s more Expressionist image, the narrative is more contemporary (20th century uniforms) and secular. The central figure, to which all hands are reaching up from the lower deck, has no supernatural powers to save the day, no Athena to bail him out of trouble or shore up his character flaws. He is a leader who is joined in suffering with his fellow sailors, in their moment of confusion and despair as they face the storm together.”

To learn more, visit Booth Gallery.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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