Artist, Kirstin Carlin currently lives and works in Auckland – completing a Masters of Fine Arts at Glasgow School of Fine Art in 2010. Her paintings are musical, modest in size and full of rhythm and colour. Their brushstrokes, like the conductors baton ark through fields of colour, describing form, enhancing texture, offering moments of contrast here and there. In other words, they bring about the right visual pitch. What is most apparent in her work is the direct use of paint spread with a loose technique. The hand of the artist is visible through the thick and heavy applications of paint, energetic dabs leave traces of awareness and autonomy.
Carlin's subjects are often humble, such as found pictures of flowers and thrift shop landscapes. Other times they are quite grand, the works of Francis Hodgkins for example. Concentrating on simple formal components such as the placement of elements within space, Carlin translates these found images into assortments of quick, nonchalant brushstrokes with pale and kitschy colours. Viscous and creamy, her works contain a palette of pale pastels, earthy tones and bitter, vivid, blues and greens.
Carlin always brings to this material her formal rigour and energy: a discipline in painting; a love of paint. Her paintings at once move towards and away from an abstracted image, these recognisable subjects become indistinct, yet an essence of the picture is maintained. Carlin’s work is embedded in the history of picture making, the idyllic, the scenic and the playful are rendered in impasto so that they become slightly askew.
She has exhibited her work both nationally and internationally in artist run spaces, private galleries and public art institutions. Carlin has exhibited at the Bethanien (Berlin), Centre for Contemporary Art (Glasgow), Victor and Hester (Glasgow), the Physics Room (Christchurch) and Snowwhite (Auckland). Kirstin has received recognition for her work from Creative New Zealand Professional Development Funding (2009) and a William and Mary Armour Postgraduate Scholarship at the Glasgow School of Art (2009). Carlin’s work is held in major public and private collections including, the James Wallace Arts Trust Collection as well as the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.