For a few years now I’ve been fascinated by the work of English painter Katy Moran, ever since seeing her solo show at Modern Art Inc in London. Her work is really physical and evocative, and despite working with small canvases, the paintings can range from claustrophobic smears and shapes to more playful and witty abstractions that really lure the viewer in. These abstractions are tantalizing, and you really feel you can discern objects and situations emerging from within the work. The titles – ‘The Bear, The Lantern and the The Little Croat’ or ‘Captain Beaky and His Band’ - also work to make you look all the harder to try and see the artist’s vision in the paint. Interestingly, Moran usually uses found images taken from magazines or the internet as a starting point, and only considers a work finished when she herself begins to see figures or objects in the paint.
Her work displays a real deftness of touch with the brush and she tends to use a muted palette of warm or earthy tones, moving away from the splashes of bright colour which appeared in her earlier paintings. The influences of Cecily Brown, Frank Auerbach at his loosest and Willem de Kooning suggest themselves in her work, but already at this early stage in her career she has established a distinctive, witty style all her own.
After a solo show at the Andrea Rosen Gallery in New York in 2008 Moran’s international profile was raised considerably, and now her work is being included in an interesting group show at the Tate St Ives (which runs until the end of September ) amongst a diverse selection of artists including Alfred Wallis, Barbara Hepworth and Lawrence Weiner.