January 9, 2009


January 9 – February 7, 2009
Opening Reception: January 9, 2009, 6-9 PM
Main Gallery: Diane Christiansen “Spring is the New Winter”
Project Room: Jason Dunda “No substantial advantage to mankind”

kasia kay art projects gallery is pleased to announce the exhibition of Diane Christiansen and Jason Dunda. Christiansen’s exhibition “Spring is the New Winter” will showcase new works including painting, drawing, installation, large sculpture and animation as well as a collaborative work with artist Shoshanna Utchenik. The premiere of new works by Toronto artist Jason Dunda will showcase an exciting new series of drawings entitled “No substantial advantage to mankind”.

Diane Christiansen “Spring is the New Winter” explores themes of impermanence, sensory bombardment, mind chatter and psychological refuge using drawing as a common thread. Animation, painting, collaging, drawing and installation all rely on the grubby mark of the human hand.  The multi-layered, often playful nature of the work creates an arena in which profound, universal subjects such as suffering and mortality become assessable and connective for the viewer.  Some compositional and iconographic elements are reminiscent of Tibetan Thanka painting and eastern landscape traditions.  Just as the wrathful and peaceful deities in Tibetan painting represent internal states, so the “buffalo girl” character who reoccurs in this work can be seen as our internal anxious loner and the smoking heads can be viewed as a neurotic, internal Greek chorus.

Christiansen collaborates with Shoshanna Utchenik in the work Ego Forest as part of the exhibition. The tree stands alone, though it represents the lush and treacherous ‘Ego Forest’ we all traverse. In an ongoing collaboration called ‘Notes to Nonself,’ Diane Christiansen and Shoshanna Utchenik are mailing small drawings and paintings between Chicago and Ljubljana, Slovenia, ruminating on the state of the individual in 21st century American culture. These notes on the nature of self ornament a simply constructed tree, and point autobiographically to the dangers and pleasures of the ‘Poison I.’  Where do we (and where should we) begin and end, as lone trees, artists, workers, women, consumers, procreators, lovers, fighters, political bodies… insignificant fragments of a sublime incomprehensible whole? How do we dispense with the academic answer to that question to answer HERE, NOW, with every action and every breath?
“We want this humble object to stand as a noble offering, even as we cower in the unknowable forest.”



Diane Christiansen, Patriarchy Fest (#1)


Jason Dunda - In his new gouache drawings, Jason Dunda blends landscape and figuration to construct worlds populated by anthropomorphic geography. “No substantial advantage to mankind” is a direct quote by Edward Hicks, a self- trained 19th-century Quaker sign painter who created sixty-one versions of the Peaceable Kingdom in his lifetime. Dunda uses near-facts as a springboard to conjure the imagery and implied narratives in his gouache paintings. He whimsically investigates the absurdity of our relationship with the natural world. Dunda is interested in our individual attempts to stabilize an environment that is in constant flux, and aims to create a strange and wonderful world in which we are foolishly powerless against our surroundings. He depicts landscapes with collections of branches, logs, tumbleweeds, traffic pylons, and scrap lumber placed in landscapes in deliberate yet purposeless tableaux. Dunda imagines these accumulations are the first attempts of posthuman installation artists, or perhaps the final attempts of the last humans, as if Jessica Stockholder were the protagonist in Cormac McCarthy’s postapocalyptic odyssey The Road.



Jason Dunda, The Landscape

Diane Christiansen is a Chicago-based artist who spent two years of her childhood in France where she began making art. She received an MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago concurrently with a MSW from Loyola. Currently she maintains a dual psychotherapy and art practice. She is the recipient of two Illinois Arts Council grants, a CAAP grant and an SAIC Merit Scholarship. Diane’s work has been shown at Carrie Secrist, Gescheidle and the Cultural Center in Chicago, and at Adam Baumgold and Pierogi in New York. Her work is included in collections at the Ft. Wayne Art Museum, the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, and in the St. Louis Contemporary Art Museum’s flat files.

Jason Dunda received his BA in Fine Arts from York University, Toronto and his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and currently lives and works in Chicago. Jason has previously exhibited in Toronto and Chicago.