Christian Vistan, White, 2022
Christian Vistan / from–about
Dec 18 – Feb 19, 2023
Unit 17
Vancouver, Canada

from–about presents paintings and poems by Christian Vistan. Working with tempera cakes, a material activated by water, the forms we see in their paintings are the residue of a transfer: water stains, then evaporates, leaving pigment to settle until another wash occurs. They think about the experience of weather, of weathering. Patterns over time provide context to understand the specificities of these processes to material, people, and place. Similarly, the works in from – about reveal a gradual accumulation – of minerals, liquids, folds, marks, textures, actions, and feelings – that negotiate various thresholds of wear.

A textile mended by Christian’s grandma meets viewers at the entrance to the gallery. Her patchwork brings together excerpts from discarded fabrics to graft over tears and where material has grown thin. Keeping becomes a practical and sentimental decision. Christian pays homage to their grandma’s repairs by translating her collection of swatches into painting. Patch (Baby Blue) (2022) references a particular alteration that uses a square of fabric hatched with marks that recall glinting water. This texture is emulated with a “spit” pencil, a tool used by tailors to leave temporary notes on garments. In our correspondence, Christian and I talked about laundry – how cycles of washing and drying accentuate the temporality of wetness. They explained how painting water extends this ephemeral wet time, offering a way to visualize liminality and articulate intangible distances.

Opposing shores emerge where forms gravitate to the edge. In Clouds (2022), brackish shapes roll and grow in front of each other, framing what is in between. Water, paint, and a third material made from mixing the two, overlap to describe this hybrid space. Consequently, the surface puckers, warps, and rips, transforming beneath layers of saturation. These outcomes of gestures and desire – the cumulative process of painting – form a lineage. A place where weathers meet.

–Kiel Torres