Toppling at Kathryn Markel Fine Arts

by | May 31, 2021 | Blog post

 Kathryn Markel Fine Arts is pleased to present Toppling, an exhibition of seven new paintings by artist Steven Baris.  Anchored by a new series Toppling created during the pandemic, the works explore discontinuity and disequilibrium of the upheaval and disruption of 2020 and beyond. Toppling will be on view in Chelsea through June 19, 2021.

“A common thread connecting the separate but related groups of paintings is an obsession with the spatial and temporal disjunctions that we are experiencing in our rapidly changing world,” states Baris. “To that end, I deploy what I describe as diagrammatic metaphors that visualize ongoing processes of movement and transformation.”


The Toppling series was entirely created during the pandemic and offers a visual analog to the profound disequilibrium we are experiencing, both privately and institutionally. Baris likens each artwork to a freeze-frame of a film sequence at the precise inflection point when a building, a body, a psyche, or a society begins to succumb to gravity.


The Dys/Juncturesseries extends Baris’ long running fascination with discontinuities, disruptions, and detours. Deploying diagrammatic metaphors that entail rudimentary framing and bracket motifs, these hybrid paintings/constructions are composed of multiple and decidedly skewed and misaligned panels made of MDF board, plexiglass or a combination of both.

Jump Cut

The Jump Cut series is a cinematic term for a specific kind of failure (purposeful or not) to convey an illusion of continuous time and space. This occurs in the editing when contiguous clips of the same subject are sequenced from camera positions that vary only slightly, causing a disruption of the viewer’s experience of seamless cinematic space and time. For Baris, the jump cut offers the perfect analog to the kinds of spatial and temporal disjunctions we often experience in our hyper networked and kinetic world.  The representation of space and time in Baris’ work is not cinematic but rather diagrammatic: a geometric syntax of nested and overlapping frames. Baris’ interest lies in how these arrays of conflicting spatial cues and disrupted sequences conjure a sense of space and time that is highly elastic and ambiguous.

Steven Baris: “Toppling” Virtual Walkthrough