Karine Leger’s newest series “Where We Met” takes for its inspiration a courageous exploration in pure abstraction, and uses a variety of pictorial tools – drawing, collage, and watercolor – in producing a crisp and cool aesthetic. Her new canvases, rendered in a palette of icy blues, cloud grays and muted whites dance together in a metaphysical place located between reality and imagination. “Where We Met” opens on 16 June and runs through July 16, 2016 at Exhibit by Aberson at 3524b S. Peoria Tulsa, Ok. 74105. Opening Reception on Thursday, June 16 at 6 pm – 8 pm.
Karine Leger’s journey to abstraction began with meditative works in color and figuration, and thick brush work delimited by cloisonné-like contours. In her earliest collages, particularly from the series “Faceless,” bodies were immersed in a sea of paint, solitude and silence. Leger’s poetic urges were already making forays into more opaque, two-dimensional renderings of her literal subjects and it seemed inevitable they would find their way into a more metaphysical approach to art-making.
In “The North” and “Storm,” for example, figuration has crumbled under the metaphorical weight of abstraction; a clear transition from one style to the other is seamless, though, and her painted faces and emotional brushwork is replaced by layer upon layer of paint; the life embedded in Leger’s previous subjects has been transferred to her new, inanimate characters, but in this there is a kind of spiritual mission that connects to previous bodies of work.
In the series “Mountain Names,” “Fragments,” “Traits Abstraits,” “The Shape of the Sky” and “Hello Moon” the artist embraced a clean, almost pure abstract composition; and in doing so, we can see the anticipation of the individual shapes of her new works.
Leger’s old and new works carry a particular vibration and intensity indicative on an inner dynamism. Her paintings might be better defined as “abstract works with a figurative soul.” In Leger’s latest works, movement could be associated to life forms such as unicellular organisms – geometric building blocks that form the structures of the universe. Leger’s geometric shapes, blurred by the same pictorial fog they are immersed in, are the equivalent of gigantic unicellular organisms – or what Leibniz would call monads – magnified through paint and emphasized by color. In today’s world of technological alienation and solitude, Leger’s geometric monads could be read as metaphors of today’s social-cultural interactions between individuals.
Karine Leger’s newest canvases are based on small collages made by the artist herself. This medium, she says, allow her to use paper to visualize her own thought process. Once she finds the right balance between shapes and color, she turns her collages into acrylic-based paintings.
“It is a great mix of structured work (collage) and spontaneity (paint); there is no actual piece of paper in my paintings, though. For my last works I took inspiration from my own collages to create paintings that look like, but are not, collage-based,” says Leger.
With “Where We Met” Leger goes beyond her impressions of the human psyche and the natural world to reach an enlightened state of self-awareness and freedom. In “La Barceuse III,” natural elements such as rain, ice, and dew appear to converge between earth and sky in an explosion of correspondences and reflections. In “Littoral,” colorful sea stones and gems come to mind while evoking the gentle whispers of summer winds and shores. In the works “Hello Moon 8,” “Cycle III,” “Mouvement de Glaces #4,” “Un Jour d’Avril II,” and “Passing Through,” the shapes depicted sometimes intersect and sometimes contain one within the other. As the title suggests, the series revolves around the poetic interactions or “meetings” between graphic signs and expressionistic moods, layers of geometric shapes and color fields, and finally, the artist and the viewers.
Karine Leger was born in 1977 in Montreal, Canada. Her work has been exhibited widely in Canada, Netherlands and the United States. For more information visit http://www.abersonexhibits.com