At first glance Katarina Riesing’s dyed paintings on stretched silk and colored pencil drawings betray an infatuation with laborious detail and rich material - especially in the hand-embroidered gold thread, use of silk, or the exquisitely-rendered swirls of patterned stocking, seemingly inspired by a northern Renaissance luxuriance. Yet Riesing's insistence on close croppings, and awkward, unsightly or uncomfortably erotic aspects of the body, reveal surreptitious squirming. The confrontational intimacy of such compositions is paradoxically reserved, as Riesing’s otherwise recognizable depictions leave plenty unsaid. The paintings are made with dye on either crepe de chine or raw silk, a surface both akin to skin and a symbol of delicacy, sensuality, and opulence. To witness its desecration with alarmingly realistic excavations of the body's imperfections - its moles, rashes, scars, or pimples - is at once unsettling and pleasingly subversive. Riesing's works often have a play-within-a-play quality, where other forms of imagery are wittily in focus - tattoos of bodies, negative spaces that suggest caves or sunsets, patterns that form drawing within drawings, sheer garments that create a screen or veil. Riesing's drawings are quieter than the paintings but no less powerfully precise or oddly bewitching. With influences as disparate as Christina Ramberg, Sarah Lucas, or Ghada Amer, and imagery from medical illustrations of skin disease, to prison tattoos, stock photography, and pantyhose labels, Riesing has reinvigorated our relationship to the body, with equal parts seduction and brutality.
Katarina Riesing was born in Knoxville, TN and lives and works in Detroit, Michigan. She received a BA from Smith College, Northampton, MA, and an MA and an MFA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Solo exhibitions include Downtown Gallery, Madison, WI, Seligmann Center for the Arts, Chester, NY, SoHo20 Gallery, NY, and group exhibitions include Eve Leib Gallery, London, Dinner Gallery, NY, Essex Flowers, NY, Kristin Lorello Gallery, NY, New Discretions, NY, Field Projects, NY, Spring/Break NY, and Bertrand Productions, Philadelphia, PA. She has been awarded residencies at Haystack Mountain School of Craft, Maine, Saltonstall Artist Residency, Ithaca, NY, Cite International des Arts Residency, Paris, Icelandic Textile Center, Vermont Studio Center, and New York Artist Residency and Studio Foundation (NARS). Her work has been reviewed in New York Magazine, The Observer, Juxtapoz Magazine, Cool Hunting, and Cornelia Magazine, among others.