Contemporary Painter

About Karen: American Abstract Artist

—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.

In her studio, Silve works in a more structural way to develop these paintings and capture the all-around fullness of the experience of being immersed in life or nature. Her process begins by painting in a normal way, one layer on top of another with an image in mind. Then she stops part way through, photographs the work in progress, inputs those photographs into Photoshop on the computer, copies sections, and finally pastes them somewhere else on the computer image of the painting. The cut- and-pasted sections in the process are turned sideways, upside down, made more translucent, stretched, and compressed until she finds just the right composition that satisfies her sense of the fullness and vitality of the recorded experience. She then returns to her canvas painting expressively, rotating the canvas with the “computer sketch” in mind. She ultimately repeats this entire process many times during the creation of a single painting. In some works, she creates diptychs, triptychs and polyptychs to further intensify her interpretation of the physical quality of nature’s connective and structural complexity.

Silve’s color choices are rooted to the natural world, something she developed at the beginning of her career while studying in Aix-en-Provence, France. Also apparent in Silve’s work is her love of the Abstract Expressionist era. In addition to the inspiration of Joan Mitchell’s freshness of brushwork, she is also influenced by Cy Twombly’s poetic use of the drip, at times lyrical and even resigned. As well as Gerhard Richter’s ability to re-present found imagery in ways that are rendered, disconnecting paint from subject matter, both there and not there, present and absent. Both of these painters deconstruct master narratives of nature or history in order to find personal niches of meaning. Silve seeks to inform her work with that wisdom, while at the same time restoring a more structuralist appreciation of the strength and power of nature. She thinks about these works as sketches of a mind-and-bodily contact with a nature, and makes use of the computer almost in the manner of a prosthesis to further intensify an experience of “nature” that is no longer out there, or only apprehended by the eye, but a force field of all senses of which we are part.

writingsKaren Silve