Karen Barth

My work is involved with the question of what painting is, after Pollack, after Greenberg, after photography, in an increasingly digitalized age. Working with photographically derived landscape elements and a process that relies on both accident and intention, my objective is to reinvigorate the language of abstraction and the experience of landscape made remote by photography.

My paintings begin by selecting photographs of the natural world. The photographic image stops the chatter and churn of my mind and places me in the present moment. I employ a technique of pulling paint that simultaneously eradicates the classic gesture and creates unanticipated events. The act of pulling paint is also a response to photography and the way it smoothes out experience by rendering images on a flawless surface. I combine an illusion of chemical and/or technological alteration that has the quality of photographic emulsions and includes a vocabulary of painterly abstraction.

My method alternates between chaos, control, painterly and mechanical, to create a painting that is the result of a process, but also evokes elements of landscape. I use paint in a fluid way, to suggest water and its metaphorical associations to all that is mutable and unfixed. I look for an image that comprises the artificial and the natural, the abstract and the real, as well as a confluence between painting as process and nature as process. I endeavor to connect the viewer to the natural world via the phenomena of paint.

My work is a meditation on the complexity of my experience as altered by an increasingly technological environment. For me, a painting is complete when it suggests a kind of mystery that exists in a realm between sensation and thought.