May 14 – Jul 3, 2015
Transforming linear mark-making into dimensional forms, New York artist Jason Karolak paints structures of repeating geometric and curvilinear configurations in networks of vivid florescent hues on rich, matte black backgrounds. The presence of the drawn mark is central to Karolak’s work, providing a tension between linear irregularities and a sense of the grid, whether in small, medium or larger figural scale arenas. Relating to the human body in space, the work creates illusory shifts as the eye follows each boldly-painted registration. Karolak recalls, “I moved to Brooklyn in 1994 to study at Pratt Institute. That was life altering, in terms of my exposure to the urban environment. My interest in bright color, fragments of the ephemeral every day, and sound and music came out of being in Fort Greene in the mid-1990’s. I was playing basketball (in the parks and on the team at Pratt), listening to hip hop, and painting. Ideas of sampling and fragmentation were a part of the conversations we were having. In our lives today, we often have to figure out ways to consciously be present in our physical bodies since the engagement of the body is an important issue in relation to technology and media and how we process images…I want my experience of the physical world to find its way into the work.” Karolak’s on-going examination is reflected in the alive pacing of each subtle and contrasting stroke of color or varied black, as his compressed or open armatures hover and glow within the inky darkness. The artist’s architectonic yet organic frameworks are further supported by the overlapping brushwork of their dark grounds, revealing an acute spatial awareness. With intent to puzzle the eye, the charged, intermittent color along the edges of the paintings, pronounce and purposefully undermine a clear reading of each artwork’s rectangular contour, as numerous abbreviated brushstrokes redirect both entry and exit. Such distinctive and divergent spatial perspectives explored in Jason Karolak’s work, embrace the expansive possibilities inherent in abstraction from figure/ground transitions to perpetually-conceived structural unfoldings.
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, Art in America along with numerous recognized online art sources such as Hyperallergic, among others, while his teaching outreach encompasses both artist residencies and lectures at universities, print houses and exhibitions at galleries nationwide.