Lines of Creation: The Large-Scale Abstractions of Marc Katano

The ethereal paintings of are executed on a ground of handmade Nepalese paper, with swift, gestural applications of acrylic paint, sometimes mixed with ink. His expressive brushwork recalls the form, palette, and intuitive spontaneity of Japanese calligraphy, but at a much larger scale, which requires the artist to work on the floor, the way Jackson Pollock did with his expansive canvases. Unlike the non-directional, gravitational splatters of Pollock, though, Katano’s delicate inky splashes imbue his bold graphic lines with subtle, if energetic passages of motion—angled upwards, for example, in Taproot and No Accident (both 2014). These works are among an exhibition of Katano’s new works, “Angels’ Share” at San Francisco’s Stephen Wirtz Gallery.
The stacked and open triangulated forms that graduate in size from top to bottom of each work, clustered in vines of threes and fives, at times layered or over-painted, are the compositional basis for the series. Minor variations from work to work trace the gestural action of the artist while emphasizing the particular specificity of each. Katano’s abstractions might seem to imply wings—or the distant, shadow silhouette of seagulls flying into the sunset—as in Memorabilia (2014). Or they might recall the slow downward fall of a leaf let loose on a gentle gust of wind (Angel’s Share, 2013) or grow more ovoid in their still swifter implementation, as described by the rolling title reference in Rickshaw (2014). Even while shading in loose contours for the viewer’s imagination, the mark-maker insists: “Each line represents nothing more than its own creation.”
Marc Katano: Angels’ Share” is on view at Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco, June 5th–July 19th, 2014.