Artist Statement

Karen Suderman, artist statement

I continue to explore the relationship between abstract and representational languages, and investigate the complex ways those languages interact in contemporary paintings. Each painting is a resemblance of a natural object, and the stylized presentation of each object produces an image that is ultimately indefinable.

The inspiration for my art lies in our innate relationship with nature: with form in nature and with human form. I ascertain that some images feel familiar to us, and that this perception is a primal and instinctual response.

Each of my images depicts a section of something I consider “innate”: a plant, animal, person, or piece of land. During the process of painting, I concentrate on the object’s color, line, and texture.

Consider that the paintings you see, although inspired by the natural world, are removed from the nature to the extent that they exist as objects independent of those that inspired them. My painting is a resemblance of nature because it is neither the original object, nor a representation of the original object. This subjective manner in which each painting is depicted, further separates what exists on canvas from what we see of nature. Ultimately, the image can only be connected to nature through the familiarity of color, shape, and texture.

This familiarity intrigues me. It stems from our own innate relationship with the natural world, and I hope to call attention to it by presenting images that provoke it. I suggest that the color, line, and texture of each painting create an image with which the viewer will immediately identify, despite the fact that one has no way of knowing the source-object it is derived from. I hope the experience of this connection will compel the viewer to consider the underlying structure of the world around us. Why, upon close inspection, and without objective distance, might an animal resemble a plant or a skyline resemble a shoreline?

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