This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 23, 2011 - "Absences and Obsessions" at Craft Alliance in Grand Center is the MFA thesis exhibition of Kristin Fleischmann, a degree recipient this year from Washington University.
It's a beautifully done show, a selection of sculptural and painted works that explore material metaphors of the body. Central in the exhibition is "A Silkworm of One's Own," curtains of delicate strings, some knotted and others clotted with concrete.
In the video piece "/Breathe./Walk.," the narrator recites poetry whose imagery is by turns comforting and unnerving. The imagery is equally ambivalent -- a hand gently sews a glove too tightly onto another hand. Sagging canvas tubes filled with plaster populate the floor in "Longing."
There are shades of Louise Bourgeois and Eva Hesse here, but Fleischmann has developed her own distinctive voice, her own way of articulating bodily and emotional metaphors through material processes. "Absences and Obsessions" establishes her as an emerging artist of great promise.
Ivy Cooper, a professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, is the Beacon art critic.