In Beverly, MA, multimedia artist Kristine Roan forges magic from found objects—and a hell of a lot of glue.
When I first met Kristine Roan back in 2012, her mouth was stained from eating six popsicles in a row for breakfast. Thankfully, not much about her personality has changed since then. She can always be found wearing an assortment of soft textiles, fluorescent spandex, and one of her many sculpture necklaces, an eclectic hodge-podge reflecting her artistic style and playful sensibility to the world around her.
As a multidisciplinary artist, Roan engages with painting, sculpture, and collage, creating a neon dreamscape from objects that she obsessively collected over the years from various thrift stores. “I collect objects with curious surfaces and shapes—usually mimetic of organic material—which can easily be decontextualized from their original use,” she explains. Objects that you might recognize in everyday life, such as deconstructed children’s games and toys, plastic fruit, seeds, discarded metals and wood blocks, are all repurposed to create small sculptures. It’s a process that she refers to as “formaliz[ing] unexpected friendships…between the natural and artificial, the austere and goofy.”
Her current work focuses on sculpture and “para-painting,” a self-actualized collaging method that involves layering and piecing together various flat materials, such as placemats and paper scraps, that have been sanded down to reveal their layers and are then sometimes painted upon. Roan refers to this work as “para-painting” because she feels that it is more adjacent to painting than collage. “Para means beside…like paranormal,” she says playfully, adding that she spends far more time gluing these orphan objects together than focusing on the process of painting, which she considers only a microcosm of her work as an artist.
Kristine notes that the layered, textural landscape of her work often makes viewers want to touch the art. “Shelf-life,” her curated series of found objects and sculptures that, at first glance, looks like a shelf of plants, inspires onlookers to interact, to want to hold and rearrange. “I want [my work] to whisper, Come closer. Look closer,” she says. While her art is not interactive, Roan enjoys the tension between familiarity and curiosity in her found objects. Her practice also enables her to preserve objects that were once loved and later discarded, keeping them both out of landfills and in the minds of her viewers.
Roan’s work will be making an appearance at Distillery Gallery for an anti-Trump pop up show on inauguration day, but future shows are temporarily on hiatus. Since the election, she has felt slow to work, spending her time reading and reflecting, contemplating what direction she will move in as an artist. With the new year, however, she plans on jumping back on the artistic wagon.
Kristine Roan is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in Beverly, Massachusetts. Follow her on Instagram for more of her strange magic.