Karen Ann Myers, June 2014
June 6 5-8 pm
Karen Ann Myers
Assuming the vantage point of a rafter, lightbulb, or perhaps even God, Karen Ann Myers’ paintings are downward looking examinations of women …
Assuming the vantage point of a rafter, lightbulb, or perhaps even God, Karen Ann Myers’ paintings are downward looking examinations of women in their most intimate locations—their intricately patterned bedrooms—as they rest gently on geometric designs, textured fabrics and thick textiles. This top-down view reveals the compartments of unique interior spaces, and the complex women who inhabit them.
“My bedroom, and more specifically my bed, has always been an important physical and psychological space for me. The rooms in my paintings do not exist but are fantasies of rooms that function as metaphors for an interior life,” Myers says of her settings, also adding that there is a “cinematic” quality to these depictions that touch on female sexuality, material consumption and the mass media defi nition of beauty.
“Lots of young women identify with the paintings. They are the audience that I hope discovers the work and it appeals to them. I do think I’m advocating for women’s rights, and I hope it empowers them, but that’s not my initial purpose,” the South Carolina artist says. “And women may identify with it, but I paint for myself, what I like and what I want to see. So I’m the audience I’m thinking about when I paint.” Myers’ unique paintings—including Kaleidoscope Patchwork Quilt IV, featuring three textures: a grainy wood flooring, a geometric weaving, and a colorful quilt heaped into a bundle—will be on exhibition beginning June 6 at Robert Lange Studios in Charleston, South Carolina. Other works include Striped Zig Zag and Zig Zag Afghan and Triangle Rug, a rare piece as it features two figures.
“I’ve been working on this series for 10 years, and it’s interesting to me because the longer I go at it the slower I’m getting at fi nishing each piece. I think that’s because I’m enjoying each painting more. I’m also adding more detail,” she says. “The chiff on, lace, silk and plaid, and even these new afghan blankets…I’m really focusing on every thread, something I wouldn’t have done fi ve years ago.”
Myers says the unique perspective of her paintings—with the viewer looking down into the scene—came to her almost accidentally. “When I started looking down it was an aha moment. When I began, they were painted from a normal point of view. My peers and other artists said it was flat and had no depth, but I liked that, especially how the patterns really flatten out the space. I tried to fi gure out a way around it, to work out the lack of depth without actually solving it,” she says. “So I started to look down, and that has fueled my work for many years. That aerial perspective has infinite possibilities. It puts the viewer in an interesting voyeuristic point of view.”
The artist says she plans on expanding the detail of her pieces, as well as painting larger pieces. She also wants to continue featuring her subjects looking out of her pieces, as if eyeing the viewer. “It’s a more engaging experience, maybe even confrontational. It’s too passive to have the fi gure looking away,” she says. “In some weird way, when they’re looking at you it’s more inviting, but in a more jarring sort of way. It makes you uneasy. It involves you on an emotional level.”