Reprints, cards and calendars on Cafe Press
I grew up in a very small town and my first imprint of the world was of a fragrant, mushy, natural space. When I left that world for New York City the intense geometry of the urban environment with its layers of shapes and repetitive forms seduced my attention like a laser pointer grabs a cat's eye.
I always carry a camera to capture any moment that catches my senses. My images, not particularly compelling on their own, make up a catalog of overlooked spaces and nothing moments. Spending time with my photos, I began to consider the nature of this space we have built to support, control and protect our lives. As I make a painting from these images I pull out shapes and reduce detail, dictating and interrelating the patterns & geometries emerging from the concrete. And then I really start to mess around.
Personal loss and the recent recession crept into my work. This is when the dogs started to show up in my paintings. Like that energy some call "God", they represent an ever present hope and strength that lives within and that really just wants to (perhaps playfully) express through us. I've had to be knocked over by my own seriousness to realize that life is really just something to be played with. None of us was put on this earth just to figure out how to pay bills.
I work with highly saturated colors to both create a very simplified, designed, comic book-like aesthetic and to dislodge our common associations with shapes. Blue skies become the color of grass or fire. Heavy concrete bridges become light. Anonymous figures in shadow ring out in lemony yellow. I enjoy using areas of saturated color to flatten out the space and reduce what was three dimensional to a set of bright patterns such as one might see woven into Kente cloth. I also work to distort the materials by layering colors and textures and then hitting the works with my sander. Un-painting is just as much a part of the process as painting.
© 2014-2015 Caroline Keem. All Rights Reserved.