Transforming linear mark-making into an experience of dimensional form, New York artist Jason Karolak paints structures of repeating geometric and curvilinear configurations in vivid florescent hues on rich matte black backgrounds. Relating to the human body in space and often at a grand scale, the work creates illusory shifts as the eye follows each boldly-painted registration. The tension between structural necessity and ideal form is continually renewed as Karolak’s mysterious armatures hover and glow within their inky darkness. The artist’s architectonic yet organic frameworks are further supported by their vibrant overlapping brushwork on dark ground with its underlying layer of pure charged color. As a parallel investigation, yet born of alternating vocabularies, are Karolak’s small canvases and works on paper. Their diminutive size and cerebral inquiries demand attention as the paint covers edge to edge with numerous abbreviated and thickened brushstrokes. Fitting together puzzle-like in interlocking or near-chevron patterns, they possess a distinctive, if divergent spatial perspective from the figure/ground relationships of the artist’s larger paintings as both bodies of work reflect the expansive possibilities inherent in abstraction.
Karolak states, “There are strong resonances with volume, rhythm, noise. Color is central to this process of course, and my paintings are largely concerned with how the color is organized – how it is dispersed, where it moves, how it connects to our perceptions and particularly to our bodies. Drawing becomes a way of organizing. Black ink on paper and in my sketchbook, every day – places, experiences, impulses, intuitive moves. There is no hierarchy to the sources. They are all significant, and begin with something that has resonated with me. Forms in the drawings get reworked, morphed, distilled. In the end they look mostly abstract and there is a residue of the original information. Over time I’ve built a personal vocabulary for myself. The color is not “contained” in a shape within a line structure, the color and the line are one thing. The color, the light, the mark, the overall structure – they are all married into one thing.”
Jason Karolak holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BFA from Pratt Institute. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, ArtNews and Art in America along with numerous recognized online art sources such as Hyperallergic, among others. Widely exhibited throughout the US, Karolak’s teaching outreach encompasses both artist residencies and lectures at universities, print houses and exhibitions at galleries nationwide where he is a sought-after teacher. He has had solo exhibitions at Korn Gallery, Drew University, Madison, NJ, Harper College, Chicago, IL, Goodyear Gallery, Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA and Marygrove College, Detroit, MI along with group exhibitions at Morris Museum, Morristown, NJ, Steckline Gallery, Newman University, Wichita, KS, C2C Project Space, San Francisco, CA, CAP Artspace, Ithaca, NY and The University of Dayton, Dayton, OH. Courtesy of Robischon Gallery.
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