SL Gallery presents Gunderson/Holt, an exhibition of work by Karen Gunderson in collaboration with Norma Holt in New York City.
“When I paint an image, the brush follows the interior contours of the form. It is as if I am tracing the surface of the volume of the image with my brush…feeling it in space.”
- Karen Gunderson
Karen Gunderson focuses on ways to show form with paint in her work. Also, in nature, politics, secondary images and qualities of energy; the process she uses in her black paintings calls upon the haptic (our sense of touch). The final effect produced depends upon the angle of light refraction and the position of the viewer; when you move, the picture changes, and depending upon the images, there is an illusion of volume.
This exhibition portrays the black paint used by Gunderson in a series of work that she did in collaboration with photographer Norma Holt. Norma had seen Karen’s paintings and asked her to work with her. Having travelled to Africa - to Burkina Faso, Mali and the Ivory Coast, she photographed mostly women. Karen chose from thousands of black and white images and came up with 30 to work with. She had them printed and most of the time there was space, either white or black added to the top or the side and then she painted images of mostly flowers that she felt could belong emotionally with the individual women. In some cases, she extended the photograph with painting and changed the circumstances (for instance, putting leaves on a dead tree or roses on an empty vine). She wanted the flowers to feel like they belonged with the people and wanted these works to show respect and joy for these women.
Karen Gunderson earned both a Master of Arts in painting and achieved the first Master of Fine Arts degree in the nation in Intermedia from the University of Iowa in 1968. She has been the subject of over 60 one-person exhibitions and participated in over 160 group shows. Both the one-person and the group exhibitions took place in the United States, Great Britain, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Bulgaria, Bahrain, Poland, Denmark and Togo, West Africa. She has received numerous honors and awards, including the Lorenzo Magnifico Prize in Painting at the 2001 Florence Biennale (Italy), and has been named by noted critic Donald Kuspit as one of the “New Old Masters.” Robert Abrams from Abbeville Press published “Karen Gunderson: The Dark World of Light” which traces the life and career of the artist. It was written by author, critic and Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Frank.
Gunderson-Holt Collaboration, at 335 West 38th Street, remains on view through January 4, 2019. For further information, please contact Tony Long at the Gallery, or visit our website www.sl.gallery/