Kajahl’s Portraits Combine Cultures, Histories

Oct 11, 2017 / by Andy Smith / Hi-Fructose

The new oil paintings of New York-based artist Kajahl explore “the history and taxonomy of portraiture.” The paintings take notes from differing cultures through time for hybrid reflections on the history of human creativity. The artist’s current show at Richard Heller Gallery, titled “Unearthed Entities,” presents a new collection of these works.

“KAJAHL’s process entails sifting through history, both amassing and archiving imagery ranging from ancient art, vintage ethnography, historical portraiture and landscape, to strange alternative histories, pseudoscience, and the absurd. In Unearthed Entities, KAJAHL depicts a range of figures such as an alchemist, astronomer, cryptid-like amphibian, high-ranking dignitaries, and a navigational explorer. In this sense, a playful dissonance is achieved in what we would normally presume to be a tradition that depicts heroic leaders from a bygone era.”

The show runs through Oct. 28 at the gallery.