From Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program

Artist: Michael Kareken
November 20, 2009 - January 24, 2010

Magnet, 2009
Magnet, 2009
In “Scrap,” Michael Kareken’s oil paintings memorialize democratic piles of recyclable glass and metal, each performing as both a portrait and a landscape. Originally intrigued by the Rock-Tenn recycling plant seen from his studio window, Kareken began painting landscapes of piles of paper, glass, and steel, documenting their endless shifts as they mysteriously work their way in and out the facility. Kareken’s painterly brushstrokes can evoke the Excavation paintings George Bellows made while New York’s Penn Station was being built. These captured the landscape and spirit of the Industrial Revolution. Kareken, like Bellows, portrays the drama and stark beauty of a new American scene. His refuse heaps are lovingly rendered, monochromatic studies of twisted metal, as in Scrap Engines (2009), or large, scrap-carrying magnets whose painted heft dissolves in a mass of swinging energy at the canvas edges. Scrap Bottles, a 9 x 14-foot canvas, is an up-close view of a mountain of glass—green, clear, and brown, broken and whole. Kareken has worked the paint into a composition that hovers between figurative and abstract.

Shown concurrently with Commuter.


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  • Opening Reception: Thursday, November 19, from 7 to 9 p.m.
  • Artist's Talk: Thursday, December 10, 7 p.m.
  • Critic's Trialogue, Thursday, January 14, 7 p.m. with Brenda Kayzar and David Lefkowitz.

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