ASTRID KAJSA NYLANDER
November 14, 2020 – January 10, 2021
Text by Chloe Stead
Page is pleased to present minijobs, the New York debut of Stockholm-based Astrid Kajsa Nylander. This series of paintings mines a canon of female artists—Yayoi Kusama, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe, Judy Chicago, Bridget Riley, and the Swedish post-war painter Barbro Östlihn—for a more democratic approach to art making, in which the limited confines of “good” taste are transgressed in favor of vibrant colors that communicate directly with the viewer on a physiological and cerebral level. It’s an attitude that is particularly inspired by proponents of Op Art whose non-focal, non-referential canvases appealed to the senses of its audience and, as such, could be understood by all.
While Nylander doesn’t aspire to the mind bending effects of optical illusion, the Saint Petersburg-style hang of her paintings similarly overwhelms, while her motifs, buttons threaded through with looping stitches, use trompe l'oeil techniques that momentarily trick the eye. But rather than attempting to impress with their virtuosity, Nylander’s works underscore the accessibility of illusion, provoking the “cultivated” viewer’s learned aversion to retinal titillations, which have long been deemed unfashionable. Nylander’s unconventionally shaped canvases, more at home in a craft store than a contemporary art gallery, also gleefully refuse painterly sophistication. Even the exhibition and series title, minijobs, self-consciously refers to the works’ diminutive size, playing off the gendered myths of the lady amateur and her delicately rendered paintings—of buttons, no less.