I got acquainted with Katy Moran’s body of work immediately after she obtained her MFA at the Royal College of Art. I was starting my journey of love and hate with her work and with contemporary art , in general. I firstly saw one of her paintings in the Art Review’s Future Great which featured the most promising talent graduating from the UK top fine arts schools.
After seeing her images, I decided to get in touch with her to purchase one of them. The asking price was ridiculously low and I wanted to buy more of them but, in a few days, I was two days from going on holidays and did not have the cash. Furthermore, at the time she was in a row with her gallerists which seemed not to recognise her potential.
Having said this, what happened next was the best and the worst that could happen to Katy Moran. She joined hip London gallery, Modern Art Inc. and and her production was ‘managed’ by Stuart Shave who got her as a rarity (along with Nigel Cooke) in a gallery well known for its Duchampian/post-conceptual take on contemporary art which, most of the time, borders on silliness. In a way, Katy Moran was allocated the title of Shave’s token painterly painter at a very early point of her career when identity should be a matter of experimentation instead of pre-definition.
Her current show at Andrea Rosen, NY, confirms my worst fears about the decisiones she has been making. She has become what we could call, a contemporary art fashionista. I am saying this because she seems to use painting as an outfit that is manipulated to convey ‘painterly art historiness’. This is the reason why, at the beginning of her career, she used to use paintings by Goya, Fragonard or Boucher as models to deface and abstract through the application of gestural brushstrokes. The outcome used to be rather luscious inpastoed surfaces that even looked edible. Four years ago, she wanted to be taken more seriously and started to play with collage which was a nod to Dada and Cubism. Now she seems to go expressive with an informalism of sorts that reminds of Jean Dubuffet. The question at this point of her allegedly successful career is who is Katy Moran. She is succesful, a mother and seems to be in control of everything that is around her except her own identity (at least, as a painter). J A T