Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

King Creativity at Southwestern

Nine Paintings: ‘Nature Re-Presented’

by: Karen Harton
Major: Art with an Emphasis in Painting

I am currently exploring the relationship between abstract and representational languages and how they interact in complex ways in contemporary paintings. During the past eight months I have completed ten five by six-foot oil paintings with the monies provided by the King Creativity Fund.

Currently, the image in each painting is a resemblance of a section of a natural object. During the process of painting, I concentrate on the actual object’s color, line, and texture. Therefore, I display how I unconsciously perceive the object in the painting, rather than interpreting the object as a sign, or referent. All of my images depict either a plant, animal, person, or land.

I am interested in our innate relationship with nature, form in nature, and our own bodies within nature. I want to suggest that certain images feel familiar to us and we perceive those images with an instinctual and primal response.

Although I am creating a representation of an object in nature, I want the painting to be removed from a natural form to the degree that it is it’s own object and independent form. My painting is a resemblance of nature because it is neither the original object, nor a representation of the original object. The painting is a section of a form in nature and is removed from context except by the familiarity of color, shape, and texture in each piece.

I believe that there is a circular interconnectedness between land, light, animals, and people. As a part of the gestalt, people have an immediate connection with these elements. Land, light, plants, animals, and people are not the only elements that as humans we connect with. However, I would argue that they are the most primal in that all other elements and objects stem from them.

I select the natural objects I paint intuitively and interpret them subjectively. On close inspection, and without objective distance, an animal might resemble a plant and a skyline might resemble a shoreline because they exist in a circular interconnectedness.

I have read several texts and exhibition catalogs provided by the King Creativity Fund in preparation for my latest series including “Negotiating Small Truths.” Annette Carlozzi, Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, “Abstract Painting: Once Removed,” Dana Friis-Hansen, Contemporary Art Museum in Houston, and Art Since Mid-Century, Daniel Wheeler.

The King Creativity Fund provided the painting supplies and research materials necessary for my Senior Exhibition that took place April 2- 7 at the Sarofim School of Fine Arts Gallery.