Along Natural Lines

Along Natural Lines

Karen Ferrer

November 6 - 28, 2015

The first inspiration for my work is the joy of looking at the natural world. I am mesmerized by the shapes of foliage or grass or the waves in a stream as the breezes put them in motion. I love the natural shapes of the clouds, slowly shifting, shape changing, at the direction of the winds. The rain on my car leaves dust residues in shapes that are a record of the motion of the settling of the rain drops on its surface. The natural world is full of motion yet in all this motion I feel a stillness.

Most of my work is based specifically on the shapes of the foliage of deciduous trees and shrubs. As I scrutinize these shapes, there is a kind of randomness to them that I find visually entrancing. Yet, as soon as I want to use these shapes, including their random qualities, I find myself imposing order on them in some way, whether it be the order of careful realistic visual description or the order of a stylized or abstracted depiction. In my work I order these shapes in ways that are interesting to me.

I am very interested in repetition. It seems to me that as I look at the natural world, it is built up of repetitions of all kinds. This might be of the of the proteins that make up DNA or the accumulation of blades of grass, leaves on trees or petals on a flower. I like to build up my work through repetitions of shapes or lines.

My work takes time. A careful look at my all over paintings reveals the movements of the brush in my hand as it moves along the canvas, going from fully loaded to being in need of more paint to being fully loaded once again. In making these paintings, I draw the lines that I want my hand to proceed down. Then I allow my hand to create wavy lines, loosely following the pencil guidelines. Each line is a record of the movements of my hand on the canvas and the loading of the brush followed by the unloading of the paint from the brush onto the surface of the painting. Each painting is created by constant motion yet is very still.

Color is essential to what I do. I am fascinated with the behaviors of various pigments, alone or as they are combined with other pigments, thick and concentrated when the brush is fully loaded becoming thinner and paler as I move the brush along. Each painting I do is based on particular colors and pigments and how they look and behave as I work with them. – Karen Ferrer