Kristin Calabrese: How things feel: AF Projects Los Angeles

8 October - 21 November 2021

"It's easy for me to forget after so many years how there was never any choice for me. I wanted to find something that wouldn't hurt anybody. Art seemed the most harmless and most life affirming thing I could think of - a labile dance through the air.


I became unable to see the value in just being a person living, working and childbearing. I wanted to mark time some other way, make manifest arabesques of energy in the air - euphoric - raw substance that has friction, picks up magnets and grit, furry imagined feeling.

I don't think art should always be forward-facing to the audience. Sometimes it should be seemingly unpresentable.

I work forward rather than start with an overarching idea and then set about to illustrate it. I believe in following the work, following my nose.

I'm trying to get free. I'm trying to manifest what I see in my mind's eye. I'm trying to keep from influencing my own work, let come what naturally arrives so it's the real and natural thing - distrustful of whether our consciousness is actually natural (only half true).

Death wish. Translation? Obliteration. Transcendence, falling, the sublime etc., evaporation…"


Born in San Francisco in 1968, Kristin Calabrese is a Los Angeles-based painter who received her MFA from UCLA and her BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Calabrese has exhibited with Brennan & Griffin, Gagosian, Leo Koenig, Saatchi Gallery, ACME, Susanne Vielmetter, the Seattle Art Museum, WA, the ICA, The Orange County Museum of Art, the San Francisco Art Institute, and the Hammer Museum.


"My realistic oil paintings tell the truth when I can't. They elucidate conflicts between how I think things should be vs. how things seem to be. The light in the paintings is bright and even. My brush strokes are un-expressionistic. The objects and spaces depicted are life size, so the paintings mix with actual physical space.

My paintings explore big issues like the meaning of life, family relationships, social injustice, and the need for safety. Illusionistic rendering is often in opposition to other formal painting considerations such as flatness, composition, real vs. fake, and shapes."

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