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Jason Karolak's Solo Paintings Exhibition to Open at McKenzie Fine Art, 2/8

McKenzie Fine Art has announced an exhibition of recent paintings by Jason Karolak. This will be the artist's first solo showing with the gallery. The exhibition opens Friday, February 8th with a reception for the artist from 6 to 8 p.m. and concludes on Sunday, March 17th, 2013. On Sunday, March 10th at 4:30 p.m., the artist will give a talk on his new work at the gallery.

Jason Karolak makes abstract oil paintings that depict vibrantly colored linear structures. He works primarily in two scales and employs a different approach to visual space based on the size of the canvas. In his large paintings, isolated dimensional forms float in the center of black voids. The smaller paintings represent a more shallow space and suggest all-over patterns. In both cases, he approaches the process of image making as a language that builds on itself. Karolak uses lively linear elements, striking combinations of fluorescent hues, and the layered evidence of each painting's creation to suggest dynamic expansion.

Drawing and color fundamentally guide Karolak towards a completed work. He seeks to extend the sense of immediacy found in his sketches and works on paper onto the painted canvas. Rather than composing a painting, he constructs it over time through a process that involves the interaction of marks, colors, and the resolution of an emerging structure. In Karolak's large canvases, the centrally placed structures resemble impossible wireframe models: loose forms made of smaller geometric elements that overlap repeatedly and appear simultaneously rigid and fleeting. For the artist, the size of these paintings--approximately 90 x 80 inches--and the illusion of dimensional form relate to the human body in real space. The tension between structural necessity and ideal form is continually renewed as these mysterious armatures hover and glow in the inky darkness.

Instead of hinting at depictions of spatial form, Karolak's smaller paintings tend to contain flattened patterns that fill the canvas edge-to-edge. Though constructed through the same process of color and mark selection, they eschew the distinct figure/ground relationship expressed in the larger works. In this small scale, the marks interlock or align tightly side-by-side in more broadly colorful, syncopating patterns or meandering linear compositions.

Though the materials and languages of painting are important to Karolak, he does not think of their refinement as his ultimate goal:

I am more interested in the porosity of abstract painting, in its ability to gather and absorb. So the geometric and the structural are relaxed by the organic and the ephemeral. The architectonic framework becomes open, transparent, and lightweight. And the still image becomes active with the potential of time, growth, and change. I want the forms in my paintings to work both graphically and dimensionally, to expand and contract.

Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; on Sundays the gallery opens at noon. Monday and Tuesday are by appointment.

Artwork: Untitled (P-1206), 2012, Oil on canvas, 86 x 76 inches

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