Sophisticated Chaos

“Wye Mills” (watercolor, 20 x 28 in.)

“I refer to my work as ‘sophisticated chaos,’ where a structured drawing gives way to an expressive painting, resulting in a beautiful mess,” says Ken Karlic. “Drawn to scenes of complex forms, I find beauty in the streets, scaffolding, and grit of everyday life. I strive to express how something feels rather than simply how it looks, and to capture the physicality of a subject with bold brushwork and rich textures. My paintings have a basis in the representational, but often dissolve into varying levels of abstraction.

“Restoration” (watercolor, 20 x 24 in.)

“For me, watercolor is an invitation to experiment. I enjoy the quality of pigments and how they behave, but I love when I can encourage them to misbehave, embracing how they fall apart — beautifully and often with granulating effects — to create textures unachievable by any other means or media. I mix directly on the paper, and allow the paint to drip, run, and splatter as it will. My approach is as much a part of the work as the subject is, with marks, scratches, drips, and splatters all creating a physical presence in the final piece.

“Regular or Unleaded” (watercolor, 14 x 28 in.)

“I paint quickly and loosely, looking to achieve as much action and color variety on the paper as I can. More is more — and for me it’s watercolor that makes that possible. I wet areas, scrub them out, add and subtract, create and destroy, and repeat over and over, modifying the whole time. My painting method — and the end result — can be incredibly frenzied and frenetic.”

“Passenger Service” (watercolor, 20 x 24 in.)

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