July 5, 2013

Karla Wozniak, Smoky Mountain Lightning Storm (Knoxville, TN), 2012, Oil on panel, 35 x 43 in

Karla Wozniak. This Weather Is Cosmic

Kenneth Baker, Galleries

Gregory Lind Gallery is pleased to present This Weather Is Cosmic, by painter Karla Wozniak. This is the artist’s third solo show with the gallery. Wozniak’s oil paintings and works on paper are based on places she visits around the United States, and in particular these new works are inspired by east Tennessee, where Wozniak has lived since 2011. The paintings marry close observation of the region’s landscape with Wozniak’s emotional response to the new environment.

Here, highways cut through a beautiful and ferocious natural world and strip malls collide with the verdant overgrowth so specific to the region. We can retrace Wozniak’s intuitive process on the surfaces of these works, with one decision leading to another and then another through quick reaction and obsessive revision. The result is a series of unstable images that both reveal their history and exist in the present.

Abstraction helps to build these pictures—marks double as recognizable imagery and unknowable forms. The surfaces of these paintings have a molded, carved quality while other areas are transparent or rubbed away, echoing the changes to the landscape that occur over time. For example, in “Pilot, East Tennessee” (2012), a thick topographic ridge gives way to calligraphic foliage and the thin wispy atmosphere of the underpainting. In this world, everything is amplified and everyday views become strange; light feels as substantial as a mountain or a telephone pole, as though the bright, illuminated world of the city and its commercial strips have infused the landscape with alien forms. And in the end, east Tennessee comes alive—the foliage is growing, the mountains are moving, and the ground shifts beneath our feet.

Karla Wozniak, a native of Berkeley, CA, received her MFA from the Yale School of Art. Her recent solo exhibitions include Magic Mountain, Colburn Gallery, University of Vermont, Burlington; and Significant Landscapes, Gregory Lind Gallery, San Francisco, CA. Recent group exhibitions include Life and Times: Contemporary Notions of Place, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA; and Bronx Calling, Bronx Museum of Art, Bronx, NY. In 2012, with artist Sangram Majumdar, she co-curated the exhibition Mark, Wipe, Scrape, Shape, at Spaceshifter, 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. Wozniak is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue with essays written by Lucy Kim and Bryan Charles.