Two Coats of Paint

September 7, 2015

Karla Wozniak, Kaleidoscope Tree, 2015
oil on canvas over panel, 30 x 30 inches.

Preview: Karla Wozniak at Gregory Lind

Sharon Butler

Karla Wozniak paints the American landscape, from fast food joints and strip malls to car dealerships and roadside scenery. While she was an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, elements from east Tennessee's verdant landscape began appearing in Wozniak's work. In vibrant newer paintings, on view in a solo show that opens at Gregory Lind on September 10, her focus turned decisively to the foothills of the Smoky Mountains.

Like Charles Burchfield, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Arthur Dove, the landscape provides a starting point for Wozniak's fervid imagination. Rendered in saturated, unnatural color, the landscape forms teem with pattern, tangled and energetic. For Wozniak, the natural world is a template into which she pours abundant emotional content.

Recently, Wozniak, who grew up in Berkley, California, left the University of Tennessee for a position as assistant professor at California College of the Arts in Oakland. For a painter like Wozniak, such a radical shift in environments will undoubtedly affect her work in surprising ways. Let's see where this new turn takes her.