The curatorial and editorial project for systems, non-
Sunday Salon 28 | Karen Loader | this, that & the other
Saturation Point, Deptford, London | 15 -
©Copyright Patrick Morrissey and Clive Hancock All rights reserved.
In 2018, following the completion of my Masters, I started using a single motif in my paintings, inspired by the architecture of Charles & Ray Eames, in particular Case Study 8 which later became their home. I particularly liked their ethos around design and how they believed that the inside should connect to the outside and vice versa. Living in California they could achieve this more readily than we can in this country, but the idea became symbolic in my mind for how to achieve some kind of equilibrium between interior and exterior worlds, between the psychological and the physical. The motif in this instance was a cross within a square and I have used this in many ways in my paintings and drawings by repeating it, rotating it, inverting it and by shifting its size and scale to create changes in rhythm and movement.
Gentle Murmur. 2019, acrylic on plywood panel. 30 x 25 cm (each panel)
Undertone, 2019, acrylic on plywood panel. 30 x 25 cm (each panel)
Using geometry and repetition to express psychological states of mind and feelings may seem paradoxical. There are no overt gestures in my work; it is all about inducing a rhythmic state that can be perceived by the viewer in real space and in real time. The aim is to modify the experienced patterns of place into a reconfigured order that can be staged in the temporary space of the gallery. Subsequently, things are perceived as being in a constant state of fluctuation and mutability.
Arc 1 & 2, 2023, 35.5 x 27 x 1.2 cm each panel, acrylic on plywood offcuts
For this exhibition, I wanted to make a new body of work using a new motif which
I call an arc. It is basically a rectangle with curved ends and it is painted vertically
on the support with small gaps in between, its width widening or narrowing and the
direction of the curve facing in or out to create changes in direction. I live in
a crescent in North London and the semi-
The title for this exhibition was inspired by Yi-
These processes are in some way analogous to the physical and psychological outcomes that I desire. A combination of cerebral and intuitive actions combine to make work that I still feel uncertain about, but deep down know is a merging of various interests and ideas that I have been exploring over many years. The decision to present some of the works as multiples allows for variations in the choreography of the hang, and the possibility of combining different pieces. This cumulative approach leads to an intensification of experience and allows the viewer to engage with the work in a temporal and sensory way. The overall outcome is an expression of what I personally experience, fusing perception, memory and imagination.
Using a single motif is similar to the use of a symbol to express multiple ideas or concepts and its simplicity belies its underlying complexity. In this body of work, the motif acts as a metaphor for space and direction and how we locate ourselves within our environment. The motif has two faces or sides – front & back – which can be flipped to create different rhythmic variations. The repetition and the placement of the motif, one after another, allows the work to be extended in space but viewed in real time. The muted colour palette is a subjective response to observations and experiences of the built environment, but it also reflects seasonal and diurnal changes that affect how we all feel about different spaces at different times and how this generates a unique experience of place.
Arc 1 & 2, 2023, acrylic on plywood offcuts, 35.5 x 27 cm
Play it Again, 2023, acrylic on plywood panels, 100 x 110 cm
The processes used in the making of these paintings can be split into two categories.
Firstly, there is the application of the motif onto the plywood surface which is
measured and precise; secondly, there are the fluid washes of colour that are built
up in many layers on top of the motifs, often with unexpected outcomes. The layers
are applied with very diluted paint using large brushes with rhythmic strokes back
and forth. As each layer is applied the overall effect becomes richer and more subdued.
There are changes in the tints and shades of the colours from one piece to the next,
enabling a shift in mood. This does not come from directly mixing the colours with
white or black but from layering them on dark or light backgrounds. This, together
with the flatness of the motif – much less patterned than in previous work -
Warm Embrace, 2023.acrylic on plywood panels. 50 x 50 cm (x2)
Melancholy Morning & Interloper, 2023, acrylic on plywood panels, 100 x 100 cm & 100 x 90 cm
Karen Loader, October 2023
Little Fictions, 2023, acrylic on wooden panels, 21 panels x 25 x 20 cm
photo by Eric Butcher