The Valley Electric
September 10 – October 24, 2015
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 10, 5-7:30 PM
Gregory Lind Gallery is pleased to present The Valley Electric, by painter Karla Wozniak. This is the artist’s fourth solo show with the gallery. Wozniak’s recent paintings are inspired by the landscape surrounding Knoxville, a city situated in the Tennessee Valley at the foot of the Smoky Mountains. This valley is electric — it sizzles with energy, steams with humidity, and pulses with plant life. The verdant landscape has served as the perfect muse for Wozniak’s improvisational and painterly approach.
The places in Wozniak’s paintings sit on the brink of development, but are overtaken by a beautiful and sometimes suffocating natural world. They explode with exuberant color and complex forms. Woven marks build into figural foliage and morph into sweeping vistas. Mountains appear and erode before our eyes. In Kudzu Hillside, colorful vines adorn and bind a hill at the side of the road, exploding into floral bursts. Gestural marks are combined with molded and carved surfaces and density of detail. In these paintings, Wozniak moves between representation and a self-generated abstraction, forming a tapestry of obsessive patterning and tactile surfaces.
Flamboyantly composed and rendered, these paintings feel deeply personal. Taking the observed landscape as a starting-off point, these works form their own hallucinatory and fantastical world. They possess a visionary quality that links to a lineage of American painting running through artists like Arthur Dove and Charles Burchfield, where the landscape is a vehicle for imagination and emotional response.
Karla Wozniak, a native of Berkeley, CA, received her MFA from the Yale School of Art. Her recent solo exhibitions include This Weather Is Cosmic, Gregory Lind Gallery, and Magic Mountain, Colburn Gallery, University of Vermont, Burlington. Recent group exhibitions include Contemporary Focus, Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, TN; Souvenir, Regina Rex, Queens NY; and In On, Heliopolis, Brooklyn, NY. Wozniak’s distinctions include a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship (2011); participation in the Bronx Museum’s Artist in the Marketplace program (2011); participation in the Marie Walsh Sharpe Space Program (2009-10); and MacDowell Colony Fellowships (2007, 2005). Her work has been featured in a number of publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, Houston Chronicle, Village Voice, and The Huffington Post, among others. Her work is included in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Knoxville Museum of Art permanent collections. Wozniak is currently an Assistant Professor at California College of the Arts.