About Karen: American Abstract Artist


—About Karen Silve

Silve has exhibited throughout the world. In 2015, her work was collected by the new U.S. Consulate in Monterrey, Mexico for their permanent collection. In addition, Silve has exhibited her work extensively in solo exhibitions including at the Portland Performing Arts Center, the Forsyth Center Gallery at Texas A&M University, the Visual Art Center of Northwest Florida, the Tuscaloosa Performing Arts Center and the West Linn Public Library in Oregon. Group exhibitions include those at the Embassy in Doha, Qatar as part of the Art in Embassies Program, The Institute for American Universities, Aix-in-Provence, France, the Jemison-Carnegie Heritage Museum Talledega AL, and she was a Resident Artist at Texas A&M University in 2011.

Read More
writingsKaren Silve
—Essay by Peter Frank

A half century after its heyday, we celebrate abstract expressionism for its romance and its rhetoric. It seems to us to have been the last “heroic” movement in art, formed and impelled by the need to say something at once grand and personal. But many – indeed, the majority of – artists associated with abstract expressionism were engaged less with the theater of the self than with the theater of the moment, the immediacy of sensation both as perceived in the world and as manifested in the studio. Abstract expressionism was above all an art of observation and reformulation. Whether its subjects were exterior or interior, worldly or private, sensuous or existential, its artworks were responses to sensation, optical and emotional equally. In this regard, while its era is long past, abstract expressionist practice remains viable and available. All those who inherit its language and its sense of meaning are tasked not with re-enacting its drama, but re-uncovering its delight in the world and in paint.

Read More
writingsKaren Silve
—Review by Ann Landi

There are certain idioms of 20th-century art that have proved to be remarkably fertile and resilient territory for younger artists right up through the present. One is geometric abstraction, as pioneered by Constructivist and Bauhaus artists nearly 100 years and developed by Piet Mondrian and Josef Albers and later the adherents of Minimalism. Another is Abstract Expressionism, the unabashedly spontaneous and often lyrical impulse that marked a definitive American style and the first great break with European traditions in the late 1940s.

Read More
writingsKaren Silve
—Biography

Silve was born in Springfield IL. Her mother, who is the daughter of an artist and a French chef, exposed Silve and her three siblings to art through visits to museums and classes. Silve’s family moved a number of times during her childhood, finally settling in Tuscaloosa AL. She was involved with art through high school and went on to receive a BFA from the University of Alabama, whose painting faculty, including the Italian artist Alvin Sella, had a strong abstract orientation. A formative experience, especially for her color sense, was the summer Silve spent painting the landscape in France at the Leo Marchutz School in Aix-in-Provence. She currently maintains studios both in Portland and in the south of France.

Read More
writingsKaren Silve
—Artist Statement

Silve’s intuitive and deliberate acrylic paintings unfold through layers of lush colors, aggressive brushwork and drips pushing and pulling off the sides of her canvases. Her paintings are based on momentary synaesthetic impressions of interactions with nature; a synergy of the amorphous profusion of Silve’s surroundings. She focuses on experiences, discovering life’s little moments of energy and inspiration. Rather than zero in on notable landmarks, she pauses and considers the special aha! moments of appreciation of life in culture and nature. She records in her mind the immersive intimacy of being a part of an experience. Observing with no agenda, she attunes her senses focusing on the smells that bring back memories, the friction of people or wind passing her skin, the calmness of birds chirping or the chatter of people muttering, and the adjacent colors filling her visual eye field. These experiences last for moments or hours. Only after the experience, she starts to visualize a painting.

Read More
writingsKaren Silve
—Studio in France

I have always been inspired by the colors here in Southern France. When I studied art and painting in Aix-en-Provence, a town just an hour south of here, I was stimulated by the clear air and serene beauty of the countryside.

Read More
writingsKaren Silve