Karen Marston | New Paintings
in the project spaceKerry Law
August 10 – September 16, 2012
In a nod to summer, Storefront Bushwick presents the work of two artists who paint from nature as part of their artistic practice. The landscapes of Karen Marston and the cityscapes of Kerry Law give us the opportunity to contemplate our relationship to natural and man-made surroundings.
In her recent landscapes, Karen Marston channels the post-9/11 zeitgeist, a mood fueled by our fear of sudden, unpredictable episodes of destruction. The growing litany of disasters consuming the world provide fertile visual and narrative material for Marston, who sees these events as part of the continuum of our experience of the natural environment. Her recent paintings focus on tornadoes and forest fires and their mesmerizing power and elemental threat.
Another aspect of Martson’s practice centers on plein air painting. Exploring the subtle movements of light and sky and the color, shape and emotional tenor of a particular place has informed and deepened her studio work. Dark shadows in the woods and the formation of clouds on the horizon hint at Nature’s destructive powers. The artist is influenced by an engagement with the sublime in 19th century landscape painting, from the storms of J. M. W. Turner to the icebergs of Frederic Edwin Church. To Marston, violent images streaming from our daily news feed and direct dialog with natural forms anchor her artistic practice.
For Kerry Law, the Empire State Building is an icon of continual fascination and mystery. For years he painted the image during the daytime, often with a view through trees. He traveled throughout the boroughs looking for interesting vantage points. From his present aerie in Ridgewood, just over the Bushwick border, he has finally arrived at the perfect vantage point from which to survey and paint his subject.
He writes, “I have been working on this series for the last couple of years. Each painting is made in one evening from direct observation alla prima. I love the fact that I can paint the same thing every night, and every night it is different. Every night is the same, every night is different. The colors of the building lights change frequently. In addition, the weather and the color of night are never the same. In fact, they are constantly changing. I look for opportunities to take subtle formal variations. I am interested in how the simple yet, infinite formal variations create a dialogue with non-objective painting. Lately, I have been photographing the finished painting and posting it instantly on Facebook, sharing my experience of this New York icon in real time with friends around the globe.”