Jason Karolak “Prospects”

McKenzie Fine Art

poster for Jason Karolak “Prospects”
[Image: Jason Karolak "Untitled (P-1714)" (2017) oil on linen, 66 x 58 in.]

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McKenzie Fine Art presents the new season with an exhibition of recent paintings by Jason Karolak. This will be the Brooklyn-based artist’s third solo showing with the gallery.

In his new paintings, Karolak continues his investigation of linear, vividly colored geometric abstractions set on matte black fields. The new work possesses an increased clarity and directness, and has progressed toward more succinct and refined gestures and forms. The artist creates compositions that are seemingly reductive, but are actually the product of a multi-layered process. Karolak begins his oil paintings with up to a dozen gesso layers to provide a smooth and reflective surface, and then lays down large sections of strong and saturated color. On top of these chromatic fields, the artist applies layers of matte black, while leaving small linear and geometric sections uncovered. In many of the works, irregular geometries in dark tones of purple, blue, and gray are laid down at the same time as the black layers, creating a luminous and animated ground as well as spatial structure and depth. Finally, linear elements are layered on top of these areas. Using intense colors and drawing in paint without guides, the linear elements create assertive compositions that reference architectural forms, built environments, and the figure. Employing a limited but strong palette, the drawn color creates volume and weight as well as rhythmic movement in the work.

All of Karolak’s painting is grounded in ink drawings which he creates almost daily. In so doing, he continuously forms a working vocabulary of structures and patterns that makes its way into his paintings. Moreover, abstract motifs in the paintings reflect the artist’s direct experience with the environment during his frequent walks in and around New York City, as well as international travel experiences. The work is also informed by his reading of the American transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882). In his well-known essay, Nature, and in the chapter, “Prospects,” Emerson posits that while science is important for understanding the physical world, we need to rely on “real experience” of phenomena in order to connect to them personally and attain a deeper understanding. These new works express Karolak’s direct distillation of specific locations, events, and impulses filtered through his drawing and studio processes.

Jason Karolak earned his MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2006 and has exhibited his paintings in gallery and museum shows nationally since that time. Recent solo exhibitions include Robischon Gallery in Denver and Devening Projects in Chicago. His current exhibition, Night Moves, at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art in Colorado, runs through September 10, 2017.



from September 06, 2017 to October 08, 2017

Opening Reception on 2017-09-06 from 18:00 to 20:00


Jason Karolak

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