Milk

Kristen Hatgi Sink

May 12 — June 17, 2018

Opening Reception
Saturday, May 12th | 6pm - 9pm

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Gildar Gallery is pleased to present its second solo exhibition by Kristen Hatgi Sink titled Milk. Within this series the bodily liquid appears as a symbolic and physical material in the artist’s iconic photographs as well as a site specific installation.

Manipulating eurocentric visual tropes that historically equate abundance and innocence with supplicant white femininity, Hatgi Sink constructs indulgent images of privilege while revealing their inherent contradictions. Young girls and women placed in carefully arranged environments present a familiar ideal of beauty, both possessive and obsessive in its attention to precise aesthetics. Yet the lens has shifted along with the person behind it. As the auteur creating these elaborate scenes and the voyeur capturing them, the artist’s, and by proxy the viewer’s, relationship to her subjects comes into view as a struggle between empathy and cool idolatry.

The images of the fantasy world that Hatgi Sink’s characters live within gives way to an awareness of its seductive and troubling qualities. Throughout the works, milk completely covers the ground forming an infinity pool of opaque whiteness without any indicated end. Religious connotations of virginal purity are evrerywhere. In one image, a young girl seated in a chair surrounded by unpotted citrus trees holds a baby lamb in her lap. Scanning down her body, on one pale foot her bare toes dip just beneath the gauzy surface. At the moment that the illusion of its solidity breaks, the young woman’s eyes stare blankly ahead, confronting us with her fated position. Progressing through the imagery different stages of female youth find themselves in various postures and states of immersion. Their ambivalent expressions make it difficult to discern between reverential baptism and begrudged soaking. Is the lily white Madonna self satisfied, in a state of shock, or somewhere in between?

Inside the gallery, body-length troughs of milk fill the space with a further sense of uncertain yet palpable ritual intention. Existing somewhere between minimalist sculpture and devotional font, within these vessels the milk's smooth and fragile surface reacts to any approaching movement. Its sweet aroma lifted into the air brings with its pleasant scent the inevitable expectation of a near future about to sour.