On the Wall

On the Wall
3 of more than 20 pieces from Goto’s new Carnival Series
Image: James Cave

On the Wall / Illustrator Kris Goto lives not between the lines, but within them. Her contours follow the curves of a theme that wanders through phases, each connecting with its sequel. A few years ago, she drew leaves and trees drowning in litter (her “ecologic phase”) before her attention led to the fluidity of surf, and the girls who ride it. She then went to drawing flawless, yet anguished women swimming through Medusian hair. She drew the witch for our Halloween Guide; all I said was that we wanted a witch. She added the ikaika helmet, the hooknose and the signature Goto hair.

In her first cohesive solo show, the Carnival Series, opening at The Manifest on Nov. 16, Goto adds color to her scenes in bright green, blue and red balloons, taunting a marauding set of brooding, stunted people. They grasp and claw at the balloons, which Goto says symbolize a form of dependence or crutch. “It’s what people cling to,” she says. “Whatever you really need–hope, coffee, a boyfriend . . . I think that when people stop to look at [the pictures], they’ll really appreciate that we all cling to something, and whatever it is, it takes us to where we think we need to be.” In Goto’s scenes, on view through Dec. 10, utopia is a recalcitrant balloon that taunts the bleak and lonely lives of her characters, rising up and drifting away from those that seek it hardest.

Opening reception Fri., 11/16, The Manifest, 6–8pm, on view through 12/10, [kris-goto.com]