Shana Nys Dambrot Review

Katina Zinner

Flowing Abstracts

“What they call ‘abstract’ is in fact the purest realism, the reality of which is not represented by external form but by the idea behind it, the essence of the work.” — Constantin Brancusi

Los Angeles painter Katina Zinner is a one-woman tour de force, with a piercing gaze, a wicked sense of humor and a repertoire of anecdotes from her wild ride of a life among the insanely brilliant and famously beautiful; a restless and curious individual always on the lookout for patterns and signs, forever prospecting for a deeper meaning and drawing on an immense reserve of patience as she finds only deeper mysteries. In a way the words she uses to talk about the paintings in the “Flowing Abstracts” series are misleading. She makes frank mention of working through emotional turbulence, but the paintings are subtle, brave and disciplined. She waxes ecstatic about finding inspiration in the natural world, but her palette is mostly inky black, stark white and saturated red and yellow. She talks about working instinctually, letting her many layers of pigment gather themselves like a storm one insistent, unbreakable gossamer thread at a time, but she shows restraint and a certain muscular elegance in choreographing the undulations and unfurling of her marks in space. With a calligraphic precision she approximates dimensional spaces, depths of field, hidden pockets of detail and refracted light as observed in the natural world, trespassing the painted surface to a degree that flirts with representation and even outright symbolism—before dissolving back into the tidal paradox. For Zinner, these paintings hold no narrative clues or absolutes in themselves—they are not the answers to her questions, they are the artifacts that document the asking. “It’s not birds that I sculpt,” Brancusi also once said, “it’s the act of flying.”

— Shana Nys Dambrot
Los Angeles