New Concept Gallery presents a 20-year retrospective of paintings by Aaron Karp, an Albuquerque-based artist whose body of work spans 45 years. An opening reception for Karp takes place on October 13.
“I’ll feature six different series of work in the show,” explains Karp, who has exhibited paintings in galleries and museums throughout the United States, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe.
“I always work in series. Often, I will start a new body of work during an artist-in-residency. I’ve been part of 10 residencies through the years, including one in Costa Rica and another in Spain.”
In Karp’s “Quiver Series,” images are reminiscent of arrows, feathers and quivers. The “Murmurations Series” was inspired by a four-week residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in 2013. “The title that I chose for this series evokes the thrilling sensory vibrations one experiences when observing the seemingly frenetic aerial ballet orchestrated by a flock of starlings,” he adds.
Originally from New York, Karp moved to New Mexico in 1979 to become an assistant professor of painting and drawing at the University of New Mexico for five years. Three years prior to his move, he developed a style of painting that utilizes various systems of taping to create fractured fields of color and space. Different series use different taping systems.
“Taping can help divide the canvas into the foreground and the middle ground,” he explains. “It also can establish the surface, dimension and direction of the painting.”
Circles are prominently featured in Karp’s paintings. So are diagonals. Colors usually evolve organically. Layering paint is central to his work.
“The process involved in making the paintings is intimately connected to their meaning,” he says. “The work is about concealing and revealing. It is about the fracturing of color and space, about looking at and into something to extract information and meaning.”