Category Archives: Painting

Crossing a Major Threshold: Jason Karolak at McKenzie Fine Art Inc.

Jason Karolak, Painting, SAIC

Untitled, Oil on Canvas, 86 x 76″

Jason Karolak, Painting, SAIC

Untitled, Oil on Canvas, 90 x 79″

Jason Karolak 3 Jason Karolak 4 Jason Karolak 5

I met Jason Karolak at Pratt Institute in the mid-90’s when he was an undergraduate painter
and I was taking part-time classes
about three years
after I received
my BA.

I didn’t know him well, but hung with him just long enough so when he came up to me at a SAIC alumni function at the Sculpture Center this past February,
I had a vague recollection of his undergraduate paintings that were big and grand
and filled with many unanswered questions
and hard-won struggles.

He told me he recently graduated from SAIC with a MFA in painting and that he had a solo show at McKenzie Fine Art.
When I went to the show, I was impressed with not only how far he had come from his undergraduate days,
but also with how much I related to his quiet, methodical thinking that is evident in his mark making
and in how he handles going from a smaller to a larger scale. I also admired his skill with color,
which is something that is beyond my present ability to produce.

In addition, he has crossed a major threshold that stops many MFA recipients: He has managed to continue making work after graduation
and to have a professional show in New York City.
This, in itself, is a profound accomplishment.
I hope he continues to continue.

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Featured Gallery – CRG … and the power of gestalt

Dufresne_Male_Face, CRG, PaintingCRG, DufresneDufresne_Wide_two, CRG, PaintingDufresne_Five_Faces, CRG, PaintingDufresne_Fishing, CRG, PaintingDufresne_Boat, CRG, PaintingDufresne_Two_Faces, CRG, PaintingDufresne, CRG, Painting

CRG was founded by Carla Chammas, Richard Desroche and Glenn McMillan in 1990. I have been a fan since the first time I walked into their SoHo gallery sometime in the 90’s. They are now located in a ground floor space on West 22nd Street in Chelsea, NY.
CRG has always had a strong vision that is sensitive and subtle.
The work they show often has a quiet seriousness
and a hidden humor or quirkiness
that can range from mild to dark.
I always look forward to going
to their shows.

The current show of painting by Andrea Dufresne has strengthened my fandom of CRG. The images above are mostly details because I am drawn to the dexterity and sensitivity of Dufresne’s draftsmanship, which displays a deep knowledge of her subject matter and material and color. As I looked at the paintings during the opening on Sept. 11, 2012, I was struck by how I was mentally shifting between form and paint and brush-stroke-evidence on a focused and minute level: Dufresne could overlay a few deftly placed marks on top of grander, abstract strokes for a gestalt perception of recognizable forms, for example, a human face the size of a US quarter or a figure half the length of a toothpick. This psychology to create wholeness out of disparate parts is a function of our mental architecture and is part of a family of ideas, with which I am fascinated, that I touched upon in a previous post, Optics. how do lasers work? _ and _ Riis: why two “i’s”?

The way we see influences the way we make and the way we act – all three can be manipulated, tricked and used for strategic ends, by yourself and others.
The ultimate criticism of art, in my mind, begins with Plato and his comments that Art is imitation and dangerous
for its tendency to lead people away from what is real. This is a much bigger issue not just as a point of
Greek History and of Western Philosophy and Aesthetics,
but also in its contemporary manifestations.

I am unable to deal with something so large at the moment, but it is something I struggle with in all that I do.

Although you can find the full images of Andrea Dufresne’s work at CRG’s website, I encourage you to see her work in real life, real time.
It is worth it in order to engage with her larger issues of creating multiple, overlapping spaces and playing upon historical and personal narratives.
Andrea Dufresne also has a concurrent show at Monya Rowe just down the street, so you can see a wider range of her work in one trip.

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