Natasha Kissell’s paintings effuse aspiration and radiate wonderment. Often including modernist architecture, she places highly designed structures into imaginative landscapes. Through man-made structure or the delicate details of the natural world, her paintings depict fantastical landscapes that can only be born out of the imagination. Still Waters (2015) features jutting evergreens looming within a rhododendron filled garden. Everything is contained and manicured- reflecting the human desire to control the wildness of nature. The painting creates an allusion of perfection in nature by omitting the inherit disorder and dirt of it.
Kissell’s other recent works explore the distance between the desire for perfection and an Utopian existence and the reality of decay and mortality. Visions of architectural splendour strive for eternal presence in the landscapes they occupy but are surrounded by signifiers of their transience in this world, such as crumbling walls, vandalised architecture or clapped-out old cars overgrown with weeds. Her painting Falls the Shadow (2015) highlights this contrast as an idyllic modernist dwelling sits nestled in a clearing while a debased wall serves as a vestige of another building which has been ravaged by time. The paintings examine the human longing to leave a mark on this world, yet this desire for transcendence can never be fulfilled as bricks and mortar are subject to the elements and will ultimately fall away.
Inspired by Caspar David Friedrich’s Romantic allegorical landscapes and Peter Doig’s energetic painterly approach, Kissell appropriates elements from eras of art history to depict her sublime realms. Reinventing traditional landscape painting, Kissell discloses whimsical and curious worlds.
Natasha Kissell was born in 1978 and lives in Brighton. Select exhibitions include Falls the Shadow (with Gina Soden), Eleven, London (2015), Misty Blue, Hans Alf Gallery, Copenhagen (2012). Her work was featured in No New Thing Under the Sun at the Royal Academy at Art, London (2010) and she was also included in the exhibition Painting the Glass House: Artists Revisit Modern Architecture in 2008 and 2009 at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Connecticut, Yale School of Architecture Gallery and Mills College Art Museum in California.