A field guide is meant to act as a manual, a tool to help the reader identify aspects of the natural world around them as identified and explained by the author. In Kit Porter’s solo exhibition Field Guide, the artist has established a similar position of authority as the works move the viewer through her collected observations expressed in paint.
Porter’s work evokes a sense of abundance. Swaddled in oceans of cerulean and cobalt-tinged green, rich expanses of wildflower color dapple her canvases. These fragmented petal-like forms evoke abundance, yet honor the complexity and fragility of the physical world through the eroded barrier that forms each shape’s perimeter. The worn quality of each form comes from the opaque paint that Porter applies around each botanical form, isolating and suspending each shape in a blanket of pigment. This process alters and determines the concave and convex profile of each form, accentuating the fluctuating curvature that oscillates between round and full, to hollow and angular. This process of attenuation refocuses the viewer’s attention from the floral field as a whole to the formation of each individual fragment. By centering the process and technique through which the compositions are formulated, Porter draws a parallel between the way our physical environment shapes our experience of the world around us.
Together, the works act as a dependent taxonomy. As the viewer takes in the paintings as a collective ensemble, shifts in scale, color and form direct our attention to the many distinct and imperfect parts that come together to make the greater whole. In Field Guide, Porter’s paintings communicate the symbiotic nature of this relationship.
- Kit PorterBeaufort, SCArtist Page
Kit Porter (b. 1983) is a mixed media artist living and working in Beaufort, South Carolina. Drawn to the coastal landscape, Porter’s paintings abstract and fragment natural forms to act as a metaphor for the fragility of the physical world. In Porter’s paintings, tide-worn shells and stones polished by the ocean’s current become as smooth as petals while flowers become as ephemeral as the wind, echoing the persistence of time and the tenacity of nature.