Love Letter to Natalie Krick

Two photographs displayed site by side in thin, cobalt blue frames. Both are identical black and white portraits of a woman, but the left image is negative and the right image is positive. Shown from the shoulder up, her body is perpendicular to the camera and her face turns toward the camera. Her arms cross in front of her body, with her right hand placed over her left shoulder. Her right hand is raised to cover most of her face, and holds a cigarette.
Natalie Krick, Negative / Positive and Positive / Negative, both 2020.

Natalie Krick recently replaced her signature color, Kodak yellow, with Yves Klein Blue. The new hue signifies a shift in Krick’s style, one transitioning from photography to collages about photography.

I love art about photography, especially when it’s not photographs. Krick’s You As Me As Joan (2020), a collage of blue paper cutouts, appeals to the same parts of me as Letha Wilson’s Death Valley of Fire Concrete Bend (2020). Krick’s Blue Fragments (2020), a five-panel panoramic scene of c-prints and resin, gets me goin’ like Sara Greenberger Rafferty’s Lighting Lesson (University of Michigan Extension) (2018). These works exhibit such a mastery of the medium to such a degree that their form isn’t relegated to it.

Krick’s previous series Natural Deceptions and Rhymes of Confusion both incorporated elements of collage and investigated the medium of photography, but her newest works combine those two characteristics like never before. Positive / Negative (2020) and Negative / Positive (2020) exemplifies this new fusion. The diptych collages monochromatic prints—a departure from Krick’s perennial use of saturated polychrome—and overtly investigates photography’s capacity for manipulation via reproducibility. It reminds me of Robert Rauschenberg’s Factum I and Factum II (1957) in that both images were generated from the same photograph, with one image inverted to produce the other, and neither gives any clues as to which was created first.

Krick has been one of my favorite artists for years now. I love the new works because they’re my favorite type of art, and they show a clear progression from her previous series. But this transition is just why I love them. The new blue is why everyone should.