Love Letter to Katherine Ace

A portrait of painter Leonora Carrington with blue morning glory flowers draped around her shoulders. A bright white orb shines through a grey haze behind Carrington.
Katherine Ace, Leonora, 2020

An alternative reality hums just beneath the surface of Katherine Ace’s oil paintings. This fantastical energy manifests through blushes of surrealist narratives and the ominous animals that inhabit her work. Through her refined rendering and limitless imagination, Ace provides a window into a world saturated with the contemplative aura of day dreams.

Some of her figures don blue hued bodies, a marker of a liminal space between this world and one of inquisitive imaginings. For Cracked (2020), Ace slashed the canvas in five places, revealing a robin’s egg blue pigment peeking through the mystical portrait. The young figure wears a hat made of floating purple flowers, surrounded by tiny, fluttering, blue moths. The image breaks open violently, the cracks create a portal to a new glimmering time-space dimension.

In her portrait of the great surrealist painter and sculptor Leorona Carrington, Ace wraps Carrington in blue morning glory flowers that look like they popped out of the looking glass and onto her shoulders. A bright white orb shines behind Carrington, beckoning her back into the painting.

Known for her work reimagining Grimm’s fairy tales, Ace’s new paintings continue to employ a fantastical element. Her subjects are romantic and dreamlike, often with penetrating stares, while her technique demonstrates classical training through her layered approach to texture and color, as well as her keen sense of light. Completed during the pandemic, Ace’s recent works resonate with the dissonance of our current moment of isolation. The paintings tell a story of the characters’ inner lives through the objects and creatures that surround them.