Charis de Kock

The word ‘still’ has multiple readings; to allay or calm, to be motionless, to continue into the present. Stillness can mark endings as well as beginnings, a transition between states, a lull between moments. To be still is to be in a state of receptivity and reflexivity. In this latest body of work, Katherine Spindler embodies stillness as a state of searching, of looking within.

In STILL, Spindler explores musical motifs as mirrors of these emotional states. The works are not to be read as literal interpretations of music, but rather as meditations on intimacy and reflection. The orchestra, so often an image of grandiosity and ceremony, becomes more intimate in Spindler’s paintings. The image of the triangle occurs too, a poignant reminder of childhood for many which nevertheless still holds a place in the most sophisticated of orchestras. Often considered to be a simple and clumsy instrument, it is in fact highly sensitive, its pitch and tone difficult to control. The triangle thus speaks to a humility and vulnerability which is essential to Spindler’s practice.
This juxtaposition between vulnerability and performance is likewise present in the figure of the conductor, a liminal figure who exists both inside and outside of the orchestra; as well as in images where figures lie on top of pianos, bodies pressed to the surfaces as if searching for the sound within, or attempting to merge with it. Throughout, Spindler captures the public and private dimensions of creativity, the simultaneous desire for connection and resonance, and then the counter - the dissonance, fragmentation and isolation - present in each act of making. In so doing, she explores the capacity art has for both quiet and force, fullness and emptiness, the ability to crack us open, to ease us apart and to soothe us shut.