"Blood and White"
Caitlin McCollom's paintings seek to marry the limitations of the body with the reality of death and decay
Reviewed by Caitlin Greenwood, Fri., April 24, 2015
Pump Project, 702 Shady
Through May 9
Swirls of pink, white, and red decorate the walls of Pump Project for Caitlin McCollom's "Blood and White." The weighty exhibition contains exclusively new work from the artist; the entire collection of work contains roughly 80 pieces total but was heavily curated down to 17 by gallery director and curator Rebecca Marino. Additionally, McCollom reached out to local poet Stephanie Goehring and commissioned a piece of prose, framed and situated at the Pump Project entrance, which creates a thesis for "Blood and White" to navigate around.
Many of the images focus on organs, blood, and guts in extrapolated forms, with titles that allude to the corporeal, such as Ovum, Tissue, and Tongue Thrust. Bladder depicts some magenta-hued constriction within a vague organ outline. Other paintings allude more abstractly to the organic materials that mark their point of origin, like Holy Red, a swooping line of vibrant red acrylic paint that paints a dreamlike portrait of an intestine.
"Blood and White" seeks to marry the limitations of an individual's body with the reality of organic life, death, and decay. It confronts disease and discomfort head on across the exhibition's many paintings. The work is, in fact, a departure for McCollom herself, who often incorporates other mediums like video or installations into her exhibitions. The combination of varied paints (primarily acrylic with a high-gloss gel medium interspersed) and synthetic paper perfectly match the exhibition's tone of human fragility.
However, "Blood and White" almost creates a redundancy in its exposition of the body through so many of the same hues and techniques. While pieces like Heart and Bitterness stand out, the exhibition is hard to embrace comprehensively. Though McCollom's work is expertly executed, the overall intention of "Blood and White" feels too aggressively served and suffers in clarity because of how similar the pieces feel on first viewing. It is only after a second gallery visit that the pieces can emerge individually rather than feel like direct extensions of one another; then, the more distinguished elements of "Blood and White" become more attainable instead of getting buried in the show's duplication.