Kat Alyst Narrates Non-Fictional Stories in ‘A World That Doesn’t Exist’

·3-min read

From her lens, the emerging artist fuses reality with stylized worlds and memories with her own experiences to share vulnerabilities and raw identity through synesthetic imagery brought to life.

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“why did my rose-colored shades turn blue?” from collection, “someone is trying to tell you something” © Kat Alyst, 2021

Captivating imagery displayed in saturated hues adorn many uses of color theory and beyond. Figure’s expressions range between solemn and frivolous, absent of anything in between. Self-portrait work is presented alone: seemingly waiting for what’s yet to come. Symbols within each piece carefully placed with gentle, metaphoric purpose.

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These rich stories come from “Kat Alyst: someone is trying to tell you something,” on view through 2021. The eleven works in the exhibition show how Alyst juxtaposes the “real” with fantasy, dousing true experiences and vulnerabilities, in hyper-stylized and make believe worlds.

The exhibit was originally planned to make a formal debut in real life, but due to the ongoing nature of the coronavirus disease, was released digitally.

Alyst is no stranger to the online world, and openly discusses how growing up in the age of the Internet shaped her world. Although growing up in a digital-age, she retains a traditional foundation for how she approaches creating artwork with a lens. Her iconography often feels timeless: a figure in sophisticated centerpieces, and streamlined outfits that avoid exact fashion trends or decades, environments that seem to belong right where it is, making it difficult to imagine them anywhere else.

While some imagery in her work seems interpretable, others remain open-ended. Alyst has mentioned viewers who meet subjects with direct eye contact are invited in for a closer look into their world, as where the ones whom divert their vision, rather you not stay for too long.

Regardless your interpretations, there is not only one story being told in this complete body of work. Simultaneously, Alyst shares the spectrum of the human condition almost as if she’s doing so in a cathartic sense in it’s entirety. From a figure slumped over on a cloud-like duvet, clenching a sharp knife, to a hot pink body seemingly recorded on a toilet, to a blue environment encapsulating two surreal figures—one sleeping, and one sleepless, leaves viewers to ask who is trying to tell us something? Is Alyst? Or is it her self-portrait figures? Is someone else trying to tell us something? Or is it simply ourselves? Is her message about what we deem shameful of ourselves and tend to disclose to others, which in part buries even further down from our own consciousness?

There is no doubt color inspiration throughout Alyst’s messages. She has shared her intense connection with synesthesia on Artsy interviews, claiming she once could taste colors, but now predominately sees recurring colors and textures within each word either spoken or read. She has stated a word can spur an idea solely based on the abstract rendition it plays visually in her mind upon the association she has to it. It’s unclear whether her connection coincides solely in English language, or if multiple languages play a role in these rich color combinations and patterns that such synesthetes hold.

Alyst acknowledges influences from David LaChapelle, Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, and other seasoned artists, and as well that many of the piece’s titles from her exhibition were named from her poetry writings yet to be released.

Despite the stoic, yet tenderness that remains present in these works, there are telltale signs right under the surface… it’s just a matter of who is saying what and how we may hear the messages.

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