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Artist of the Week: Karen Gunderson

January 8, 2011

Churning Sea (Ships Path) by Karen Gunderson,

2007, oil on linen, 60” x 60” [152.4 x 152.4 cm]

Karen Gunderson has a varied portfolio, but I am most amazed by her “water” paintings.  I am not finding any video footage I may have shot of the paintings, so I will try to describe them as best as I can.  The surface is entirely black oil paint and it looks just like water in person.  The light moves over the stria of each brush stroke visually recreating the look of light reflecting off of water.  It is really, really amazing in person.  I freaked out when I first saw them.  I kept moving around them and watching the light reflect off the surface of the painting.  Never has an artist done so much with so little; the simplest materials are used to maximum effect.

Calm Before The Storm by Karen Gunderson,

2005, oil on linen, 60” x 60” [152.4 x 152.4 cm]

These paintings are large, so you can stand close to one and have it take up your field of vision.  I wish I had one of these.  The water paintings are the only works of her that I have seen in person.  I have never seen a monochrome where there was imagery crafted by the brush strokes prior to seeing the water paintings of Karen Gunderson.  See more of her art at her portfolio site here.

I found a short documentary about her work in black in three parts on YouTube:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

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