Jason Karolak’s layered neon grids in aqua and fuchsia float in a stark, cosmic darkness, the artist exploring a tension between the containment of the form and the expanse of the subject’s atmosphere. Aside from the aesthetic engagement these pieces require of their reader, they inspire reflection on structure as a concept. Chemistry of opposites is visually engendered between vibrant color and darkness, connection and disconnection, transparency and visual weight, empty and structured space, organic and artificial creation, growth and stagnation. I find myself reflecting on the structure and limitation of existence and the chemistry between yet to be understood life forces.Pretentious philosophical bologna? Perhaps. But Karolak achieves what few painters can—he engages the viewer’s mind as successfully as he engages the eye. He pushes the limitations of connection in opposites and, if you don’t buy the intention, his work is still damn original.
Chicago West Loop gallery Kavi Gupta represents Brooklyn-based SAIC MFA grad Jason Karolak.
“I am invested in the fundamental materials and languages of painting, and take very seriously the process of building form and space. Largely my studio days are spent thinking about the formal elements of the paintings—line, geometry, space, and color. But this is a starting point, not a reductive location at which to arrive. I am more interested in abstraction as a porous language, one that has the ability to gather and absorb. I want to tweak or bend the geometric so that it feels organic. More malleable and relaxed. And I want the architectonic framework to feel more lightweight. I consider what I can bring into the work implicitly, such as light, heat, weight, even sound—elements from my experience. So the painting, and by extension the studio, becomes this place of filtering, or distilling.”
Above is his artist statement posted the blog, “Painter’s Process” in May of 2013.
Photos courtesy of jaysonkarolak.com