February 21 – March 31, 2007

Opening reception:
Saturday, February 24, 2007
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

ClampArt is very pleased to announce “Karen Gunderson: Black Paintings.” After seven years of exhibiting only photography, the gallery is now expanding its program to include other media.

The exhibition includes a selection of all-black paintings that conjure vast, mountainous landscapes and also expansive bodies of water through a deft working of surface alone. Over the past eighteen years, Gunderson has perfected a technique whereby pictorial illusion is achieved by the reflection of white light off the raised edges of meticulous brushwork. Initially the method is difficult to discern—viewers often see the paintings as sculptural relief. It is only upon closer examination that one realizes the artworks are simply oil on linen and that the imagery is rendered through intricate brushstrokes alone. Due to the way in which light reflects off of the black paint, Gunderson’s canvases sparkle, shift, and change as viewers move about the artworks. The silvery sheen of the canvas’ surfaces is the result of the black paint alternately reflecting and absorbing light. Indeed, as we see a body of water due to the reflection of light off its surface, Gunderson’s paintings function in an identical fashion. As the appearance of water perpetually varies as light plays across its ripples, these black paintings undulate and glisten when viewed from various angles. Virtually impossible to depict in photographic reproduction, Gunderson’s art must be experienced firsthand.

However, while rendered solely in black pigment, Gunderson’s canvases ironically represent an engagement not with darkness, but rather light—the artist’s metaphor for hope.

Born in 1943, Gunderson has been painting for over forty years. Her artworks have been exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide. In 2001 she won the Second Prize in Painting at the Florence Biennale. Gunderson’s work is represented in such prestigious public collections as the Weatherspoon Art Gallery, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro; the Charles A. Wustum Art Museum, Racine, Wisconsin; Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, New York City; and Philip Morris, New York City; among others.

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