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Judy Wagonfeld
Seattle Post-Intellegencer
March 18, 2005

Bicycles can set you free. Propelled by wheels, pedals and a pumping heart, you fly, float and soar.

Articulating that transcendent moment has challenged artists since medieval times. Many answer in mythological or religious renderings. Abstractionist Mark Rothko chose hovering hues.

Then, here’s San Franciscan Katina Huston going for it with a bicycle. And she succeeds brilliantly by capturing an elusive target: the shadow as proof of experience. Shadows hold the future and the past but, as Thoreau postulated in “Walking,” it’s living in the present that permits spiritual migration, Huston’s motif.

Huston makes the bicycle our metaphoric transport; its shadows our ephemeral moments. Like accumulative artist Deborah Oropallo, she foregoes irony, cultural references and narrative. Gingerly, she seeks individual survival and freedom through purity, silence and peace.

Expressing such non-tactile concepts requires skilled subtlety and chance. Pouring and painting black and brown ink on frosted non-porous Mylar, Huston accedes to instinct, trusting her artistic past. Shape-shifting with amoebic autonomy, the inks pool and seep between delicate calligraphic lines. Drying into patterns, they reiterate geologic tributaries and parched earth.

Within these translucent forms, a host of shadows shape the “Accumulation Series.” Layers in “Bounce” mark time’s passage as succinctly as diary pages. In “Tracings” Intertwining lines mimic the repetitive fleeting contact a wheel makes with earth. The “Shadow Series” includes small out of focus bicycle fragments and grand mystical impressions of a single bike. Their power feels cumulative, like the wisdom of age. In “Bicycle-Solo” handlebars morph into wings, beckoning us to break free.

Huston guides with elegant precision. Grasping the elusive seconds between reality and nirvana, she witnesses the invisible, mapping a path to revelation.

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