Informed by the historical lineages of surrealism, Kim Altomare’s painted relief works use psychological reflexivity to reveal unconscious formulations of the self in the form of biomorphic abstraction. Projection, transference, hatred, sadness, love—all of these messy things get casted upon the work by you and me. Funneled through the pressure of coherence, intangible states become forms of embodied knowledge. The way a drawn line sits on the wall or how paint drips onto the floor indicate something more than just the optical—a haptic sensation gets lodged in the body, filling it up from head to toe.
Craggy paper-mache, smooth sanded wood, stained cotton canvas—each material affords its own pleasures through play and process. Surfaces, whether shiny or matte, shallow or deep, offer another sort of pleasure. Boundaries dissolve between the flat and pronounced in the relief works, which as a form, sits in a funny in-between space – not quite painting or sculpture. Instead, relief demands to be looked in a particular way because of its determined thrust into real space while sitting on the wall. We cannot tiptoe around the edges, we can only accede to its lists of demands to be seen, considered, and touched.
Altomare is the inaugural recipient of the Yale University School of Art Residency at Lafayette College.