July 18, 2013

Karla Wozniak, “The Weather is Cosmic” at Gregory Lind Gallery

Berkeley native artist Karla Wozniak’s new suite of paintings, on view in “The Weather is Cosmic,” her third solo show at 49 Geary’s Gregory Lind Gallery, is inspired by east Tennessee where she has resided since 2011. Living in the region for just a few years, Wozniak seems to feel connected to the landscape enough to delve deep into the psyche, constructing eloquent commentaries and emotional responses to the landscape, and yet conversely also aware of her status as a non-native, at times just a visitor, she expresses more idyllic depictions of the region’s natural landscape while passing through.

It looks as if everything about this place to Wozniak is new and fresh, and she illustrates her exhilarating response. Just one of her colorful compositions contains a collage-like series of picturesque images, perhaps constructed by one person’s solitary traverse towards another destination, stopping for a moment to be absorbed in the surrounding environment. These images evoke the heat and light of summer sun, and how it manipulates the manner in which one sees the space. Everything is almost surreal in appearance: scale and distance distorted, exacerbated colors become more energetic. Highways stretch through an all but abandoned world left for nature to reclaim, interrupted only by sporadic mirages of gas station signs, utility poles and rest stops, both derelict and in still in operation. Even these departures that may recourse viewers to some sense of narrative or place are themselves slowly eroding into the landscape, exemplified by deeply textural layers of paint built up alongside flat surfaces, craquelure revealing more layers of vibrant color. Whereas in previous exhibitions at Gregory Lind Gallery Wozniak has explored more the urban space and metropolis, she has found an equally successful font of inspiration when nature takes over.