New York’s coolest crowd congregated in one spot last week to celebrate the opening of KESH’s first solo show in New York at Catherine Ahnell Gallery. Hailing originally from the UK where she dabbled in fashion, editorial, and music, KESH cemented herself as a visual artist on the US’s west coast, where she established her own workspace “The Cave” in Los Angeles, also the home of her first independent exhibit ME.ME.ME. Fueled by an experiment in isolation and detachment, the show featured a self-examining collection of colossal black-and-white prints.
KESH continues her graphic exploration of identity across the country in Catherine Ahnell’s space, joining the gallery’s yearlong commitment to an exclusively female roster of artists. Prior to the opening, KESH made the gallery her home and studio, participating in a month long residency program initiated with the goal of presenting artwork in the original site of its formation and allowing spectators to better understand the artist’s work process. The fruits of her occupancy debuted in the New Year on January 14th, garnering the attention of other in vogue emerging artists including Jeanette Hayes, Tali Lennox, and Dev Hynes.
Though the guest list added to the atmosphere, the spotlight remained on KESH and her most recent collection of graphic portraits. Again experimenting with self-analysis and representation, these works however took a bolder step forward into abstractive composition. At first glance, they are busier than her typical monocratic prints, but the layers and clips of geometric imagery fit together in a puzzle-like perfection, blending to create a statement superior to the sum of its parts. The re-introduction of color also adds visual intrigue, as the “pop art” feel to the illustrations pops out even more. KESH also forayed into the digital realm, enhancing her collection and the surrounding space with a vivid light projection onto the gallery walls. Seemingly a Renaissance woman in the young artist community, KESH continues to surprise and delight with her bold designs, and one can only imagine which envelope she will push next.
KESH’s LJUS2 is on view until Sun Feb 14 at Catherine Ahnell Gallery, 66 Grand St, New York.
Writing by Lisa Marsova
Photographs by BFA