Karen Gunderson

Karen Gunderson: Wisconsin born, New York-based Karen Gunderson is a prolific painter who has gained a high degree of respect throughout her years of work.

Only the most daring of painters can take up the challenge of painting predominantly with black and expect unique and fresh results. Any self doubt, hesitation, or lack of skill, and the artist risks being labeled as predictably morose, if not sophomoric. Not Karen Gunderson. For her, black is a sensuous color. In her series of “sea paintings”, Gunderson transforms blackness into an illuminating experience. The paintings are large, edge-to-edge views of nocturnal seas. Through the use of an ever-so-delicate range of tonality in her hues, too subtle, in fact, for the eye to catch, she poetically portrays the surface of water as it is seen in its infinitely variable moods.

“By using only blacks, I'm forcing the focus onto the brush strokes reflected by the light. I paint a form, an image with black paint, and the light makes them visible, like magic. I use a process I call the "haptic." When I paint an object, the brush follows the interior contours of the image. It is as if I am tracing the surface of the volume of the image with my brush…feeling it in space. The final effect produced depends upon the angle of light refraction and the position of the viewer; when you move, the picture changes. I believe I have made a new way to think about painting. It is similar conceptually to the way we view a rainbow. When one observer looks at a rainbow, no one else can see it from that same perspective, and any change in the observer’s point of view produces a new image.”