Artist Karen Kitchel Employs Asphalt as a Medium in Her Powerful Landscape Exhibition 'Pastoral Crude'

  • OXNARD, California
  • /
  • January 28, 2019

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Karen Kitchel © 2016 Waterway #8 (Lake Casitas), asphalt emulsion, tar, wax, powdered pigments, shellac/canvas; 50"x50" courtesy the artist.

In 'Pastoral Crude,' a current exhibition at the Carnegie Art Museum in Oxnard, California, Karen Kitchel's recent landscape paintings use an unusual medium---asphalt emulsion. On view until February 17, 2019, this solo exhibit presents fifteen paintings of contemporary landscapes under threat, rendered in asphalt, oil, wax, mineral pigments and shellac/canvas.

These paintings continue Kitchel’s longstanding commitment to make landscape paintings that transcend conventional portrayals of scenery, location, or nostalgic attempts to interpret “nature.” Widely recognized for her multiple-panel installations of American grasslands and urban botany, this is the first west coast solo exhibition of her landscape plaintings using asphalt emulsion.

An upcoming exhibition at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art in Colorado focuses on her grasslands series.

Kitchel has worked throughout the coastal and interior west for more than thirty years, receiving her M.F.A. in painting from Claremont Graduate University in 1982. Her work is in the permanent collections of multiple museums and private collections nationally and abroad, including the Palm Springs Art Museum, the Denver Art Museum, the Tucson Art Museum, the Joslyn Museum, the U.S. State Department, and the National Museum of Poland. She is represented by Robischon Gallery of Denver, CO, and Gerald Peters Gallery of Santa Fe, NM and New York, NY. She currently lives and works in Ventura, CA.


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