Karen Schwartz – “Down the Rabbit Hole”

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  • July 9, 2015

In our Project Room: Margrit Lewczuk

April 24 – May 31, 2015
Opening reception: Friday, April 24, 6 – 9 pm

Karen Schwartz, Down the Rabbit Hole, 72 x 60 in., Mixed media on linen, 2014

Life On Mars Gallery is proud to present the first New York solo exhibition – Down the Rabbit Hole – of painter Karen Schwartz.

A color catalogue will accompany this exhibition with an essay by art historian, critic, and painter Robert C. Morgan. The exhibition at Life on Mars Gallery will open Friday April 24th with a reception for the artist from 6:00 – 9:00 pm. The exhibition will run through Sunday, May 31st.

Schwartz lives and works in Atlanta and Long Island, and is represented there by The Bill Lowe Gallery, (where this December she had her second one-person exhibition), and in New York by Life On Mars Gallery. She had a one-person exhibition in Spoleto Italy, at the Spoleto Art Festival in 2012 and has participated in numerous group exhibitions.

Working furiously and fearlessly, with materials as varied as oil stick, collage, ink, oil, and acrylic paints, Schwartz draws repeatedly upon a vocabulary of images that are deeply personal, all the while maintaining a high-wire juggling act between process, narrative, and discovery.

While is there is an affinity in her work to both generations of the German Expressionists (Max Beckman, Ernst Kirchner, as well as the Post-Modern Neo-Expressionists Rainer Fetting and George Baselitz), her sense of color, light, and line recalls Matisse and the East End Long Island painters of the 1950s and 1960s. This aforementioned and unlikely combination, and her fearlessness, passion, humor, playfulness, and innate ability to draw, creates an authentic and singular voice, a voice in tune with and at the heart of today’s atemporal approach to painting.

In the catalogue for this show, Morgan writes:

“Viewers may assume the deeply-layered and itinerant brushwork evident in these works . . . pertain to the manner in which Schwartz has chosen to envision freedom as a part of nature, and therefore, has chosen to paint defiantly against rational restrictions. In fact, the artist’s spectrum of joys and sorrows, amid other deeply-felt emotions, is near the core of what these paintings are attempting to reveal. Schwartz’s paintings have nothing to illustrate or to prove. She is a self-sustaining, self-willed expressionist painter, committed to resurrecting form from her personal life that transmits a tactile resonance. Her paintings . . . come close to the human soul and are capable of sending a message to those capable of receiving it, which the artist believes is a function of painting.”

Margrit Lewczuk, Animule Collage, 20 x 15 in., collage, 2015

Lewczuk’s career was marred in 1999 by a fire that destroyed the contents of her Chelsea studio. Sixteen years later, she has assembled a new oeuvre of vibrant paintings, drawings, and cutouts while living and working in her Brooklyn home with her husband, fellow impassioned artist and professor Bill Jensen … In devotion to the theme of her own transformation and renewal after disaster, her new work features symbols of rebirth such as eggs, angels, crosses, and the chrysalis. With these hopeful themes, she doesn’t mourn the past; she celebrates the potential of the present and future, affirming the power of long change, in gestation, incubation, and meditation.
Michael David 3-20-2015

Karen Schwartz – Down the Rabbit Hole – Life on Mars Gallery, April 24 – May 31st. Opening reception April 24th 6:00 – 9:00 pm.