In Meet Me on the Astral Plane, Brooklyn-based artist Kate McQuillen refers to the astral body, a projected state of being where the boundlessness of mind and spirit take precedence over the gravity of corporeal form. Here, the “astral plane” becomes a contemporary iteration of the age-old idea of the celestial sphere—the home of planets, stars and clouds that also serves as a bridge between inner and outer realms.
McQuillen’s exhibition consists of images of portals, spectrums, and converging planes depicted with transparent layers of vibrant color. The artist uses a water-based painting technique involving layers of screenprinted gradients to create imagery that is soft, wet, and loosely structured. Atmosphere, lightening, stars, and nebulous clouds combine with drippy, watery planes that merge in space. The surfaces of her paintings and monoprints are smooth, seamless, and superflat, evoking air and nothingness. Luminosity and a sense of interior light within each work also imply the sorts of emerging digital and virtual spaces where one is there and not there simultaneously. Although these works convey a sense of ephemerality and weightlessness, there is also the consistent suggestion of water–and by extension, the body–through marks that take the form of drips and ink flows.
McQuillen’s approach to mark-making is a mediated one, leaving behind little evidence of the hand: they appear almost brushless. For the artist, this technique implies a separation between the known environment and the otherworldly, the physical and the spiritual, the attainable and the unattainable.