Kara Joslyn: Tragic Kingdom

M+is pleased to present Tragic Kingdom, an exhibition of new paintings by Kara Joslyn, the artist’s first solo show with the gallery. The exhibition runs from November 16 through December 21, 2019, with an opening reception on Saturday, November 16 from 6 to 8 pm.


Kara Joslyn’s enigmatic paintings describe a floating, liminal world of masked figures, geometric forms and moons. Tragic Kingdom presents seven new works that offer a view into this symbolic space, the dreamlike tableaux of the unconscious that Joslyn teases into being on the painting surface.


In this body of work, Joslyn uses airbrush to reproduce photographs found in 1950s instructional craft books of paper sculptures. She divorces these figures, domestic interiors and decorative motifs from their original context, transforming the play images from domestic mid-century America into surreal, yet strikingly realistic forms on the canvas. 


With an interest in illusion and optics, Joslyn hand-mixes polymer car paints (including holographic, iridescent, metallic and optical materials in addition to black and white pigments) and applies them to the canvas in a laborious process of masking and airbrushing. Light and dark are produced through subtle layers of sprayed particulate and change from color to gray scale depending on the viewer’s vantage point. Skillfully executed, these images mimic, codify and reflect on the surface to fool the eye.


Kara Joslyn (b. San Diego, CA) received her BFA from California College of the Arts, San Francisco (2008), completed post-baccalaureate studies in Painting at Columbia University, New York (2011) and has an MFA at the University of California, San Diego (2016). Joslyn is a recent nominee for the 2018 Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant and was two-time nominee for the Robert Motherwell Foundation MFA Fellowship in Painting and Sculpture. She received the Russell Foundation Grant in 2014 for her work with Holography at UCSD. Exhibitions include those at 356 Mission (Los Angeles), The Museum of Contemporary Art (San Diego), Commonwealth and Council (Los Angeles), The Barrick Museum (Las Vegas) and Bizkaia Aretoa University of the Basque Country (Bilbao). Kara Joslyn lives and works in Los Angeles.