BECOMING FORM, a one-person show of abstract paintings and photographs by Karen Iglehart, explores the emergence of form in the layering of color. While she primarily works with paint on canvas, Iglehart’s exhibit also includes photographs taken in Gloucester and Venice that inspired and relate to recent paintings.
The scale of Iglehart’s work ranges from 12 by 12 inches up to 40 by 40 inches. She works mostly in a square format, because that lends itself to abstraction. And she uses oil paint exclusively. “I am taken with the subtlety and depth of color that oil provides,” she explains.
Growing up in the New York City area with parents who were both painters, she recalls spending a lot of time in museums seeing Abstract Expressionist paintings. Their work left a strong impression, and she notes she also has been a great appreciator of Richard Diebenkorn, Fritz Scholder, and Milton Avery, “all wonderful colorists.”
Her practice of Buddhism is another strong influence on how—and why—she works. “I’m trying to create an experience without what is called ‘mental discursiveness’ of trying to figure out meanings, place, and references. I’d like the viewer to just experience colors, space, movement, etc. To fall into the painting,” she says.
Her approach aims to eliminate what seems unnecessary, in an ongoing, interactive process of painting, looking, adding, then subtracting, and then maybe adding and subtracting again. “What seems simple can be complicated in the process,” the artist comments.
The subject matter of her paintings in recent years has emerged as she allows layers painted upon layers to become form. “It comes from looking at what is happening as I paint … just being present and able to stop or shift direction, literally and figuratively.”
Art Forum Online
In an Art Forum Online on Thursday, April 20 at 7:30 pm, Iglehart will hold a dialogue about her practice with Alison Rabinowitz, Art Consultant at Bonhams Art Auctions, and welcome questions from the audience. Click here to register for this online event, which is free and open to the public. This Art in Community program is supported in part by grants from the Amherst Cultural Council, Pelham Cultural Council, and Springfield Cultural Council, all local agencies, which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.