A 'Beautiful Mess' Appears in SJU Gallery

Monday, November 5, 2018

by Brittany Baronski

Contemporary artist Ken Karlic refers to his watercolors as “Sophisticated Chaos,” where structured drawing gives way to an expressive painting – a beautiful mess.

“I’m drawn to scenes of complex forms finding beauty in the streets, scaffolding and grit of everyday life,” he explains. “My paintings have a basis in the representational but often dissolve into varying levels of abstraction.”

A collection of Karlic’s work will be on display at the Saint Joseph’s University Gallery Monday, November 5 through Friday, December 7.

The physicality of each subject – captured by bold brushwork and rich textures, is what Karlic strives to express. For him, how something feels is just as important as how it looks.

“My approach is as much a part of the work as the subject, with marks, scratches, drips, and splatters all becoming part of the final piece, creating a very physical presence,” he says.

Karlic, originally from Chicago, studied architecture, painting, and graphic design at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and received a B.F.A. He is a founding partner of the Baltimore-based graphic design firm Splice Design and has recently been featured in The Art of Watercolour, PleinAir Magazine, Fine Art Today and Voyage Chicago.

“Karlic is not your typical watercolorist,” says Gallery Curator Jeanne Bracy. “His paintings, full of depth, present a beautifully gritty interpretation of urban landscape. Karlic's architectural background shines through in his industrial subjects where the precise linear perspective and vanishing points form the basis for his complex paintings. His non-conforming style of quick varied brushstrokes, paint splattering, scratching, and repetitive washing satiate each piece with energy and purpose.”

The gallery will host an artist talk with Karlic on Thursday, November 15 at 11:30 a.m. Saint Joseph’s University Gallery is located on the second floor of Merion Hall on the James J. Maguire ’58 Campus at 355 N. Latches Lane in Merion Station, Pennsylvania. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

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