Cabbage (and Philip)
when I wanted to paint Philip
but he didn’t want
Cut to our dinner in parts on the counter
before it was cooked:
A head of cabbage
alert with passivity, the chief ingredient.
It matched the chef’s head
in weight and shape
and seemed to call out to me
I’ll do it
making a case for itself, for adrenaline –
plenty of green veins
pumped with stored sunlight.
You’ll do –
And I picked it up
saved from having to fail
at depicting the beloved directly,
in that case.
So the surrogate poses, and completes
the love triangle
between painter, muse, and deferral –
thinning the veil between subjects, since
there isn’t much separation anyhow
between being a Portrait or a Still Life,
memento mori or plein air alla prima:
all hearts spring
the mossy darkness
of folded wings.
It seems unlikely that such an earthly load
could be the object of lust
across the globe
but read the way
varieties have been named
by their growers:
on and on devotion,
durability, the steadfast companion
through seasons of hunger and fullness.
Capitata, Latin for having a head.
Celto-Slavic root cap, meaning head;
Middle English cabbage descending from Old French caboche: head again.
You and it, in a tête-a-tête
(Shadow that is you, that points to you)
You keep me casual,
You taste incredible.
Arteries, A-roads, tributaries:
cabbage’s underground wrappers read
like a road map to the stars –
Where we are headed?
In the meantime
The Approach is pleased to present Cabbage (and Philip): Selections, an online exhibition of 6 paintings by Allison Katz, from her ongoing series.
The first Cabbage (and Philip) painting was made in 2012, and they have been appearing in solo and group exhibitions ever since. There are currently 29 to date.
Allison Katz (b. 1980, Montreal, Canada) lives and works in London. Solo exhibitions include Artery, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK (forthcoming 2021); Diary w/o Dates, Oakville Galleries, Oakville, Canada, touring to MIT List Center for the Arts, Cambridge, MA; Period, Gio Marconi, Milan; Muse with a Short Fuse, Antenna Space, Shanghai (all 2018); We boil at different degrees, The Approach, London, UK (2016); All is On, Kunstverein Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany (2015). Notable group exhibitions include Hayward Gallery, London; The Imaginary Sea, Fondation Carmignac, France (both forthcoming 2021); Slow Painting, curated by Hayward Gallery Touring (2019-2020); Maskulinitäten, Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn, Germany; Paint, Also Known as Blood, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, Poland (all 2019); Splendor Solis, The Approach, London, UK (2018) and Puddle, Pothole, Portal, SculptureCenter, New York, NY. (2014)
Katz received her MFA from Columbia University in New York. A comprehensive monograph on Katz’s work was published by JRP|Editions in 2020.
Image: Cabbage (and Philip) No. 16 in progress, 2019