New Feature Exhibition in May April 13 2019

Karlene McConnell

On Exhibit: May 4 - 25, 2019
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 4, 4-7 PM
Artists Talk: Friday, May 10, 11 AM


For her inaugural solo exhibition at Arts on Douglas, Karlene McConnell presents a selection of bold, colorful, abstracted landscapes that play on the allusion of three-dimensional space.  With respect to the exhibition title, Perspective, McConnell states, “Perspective can be a technique in art to create the illusion of depth and distance or it can be a state of mind.   I chose this title for my latest series because of this duality.”

McConnell’s work emphasizes strong, geometric forms and energized fields of color often set against pathways lined with trees that add a sense of depth to an otherwise flattened plane. For this exhibition, Karlene has expanded upon her methodology by experimenting with even more vibrant hues while also introducing more introspective elements. She explains “I have reintroduced drawn lines and infused symbolism with nature as the substrate.  Color remains my muse and I continue to take into consideration the artists before me who experimented with color fields, shape and line.”  These concerns are also referenced in an essay by Dr. James Murphy about her work, in which he aptly compares her paintings to that of a Fauvist, the kind of painter that “makes no effort to desaturate or blend, but allows pure, unmixed colors, even discordant ones, to ring out at maximum intensity.” 

In this essay, Dr. Murphy also explores the way in which McConnell’s work investigates the intersection of nature and culture.  He uses the piece Green Chair as an example, noting that  “both the chair and the yellow potted flowers are part of the interior world of human habitation; but their colors are reflected in the sky and trees above, linking the inside with outside, the built with the natural environments.”

McConnell is an avid hiker and uses real world experiences as a catalyst for her work, such as the magic she experiences on a walk in the woods. She enjoys expressing these memorable experiences in her paintings, but explains “another duality found in these pieces is that they are at one moment whimsical, while also serving as a reminder of our need to preserve nature and ourselves.”

About the Artist

Karlene McConnell was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts but has spent the majority of her life as a Floridian. After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education from the University of Central Florida, she worked as a Special Education Art Teacher for several years and then Curator/Educator for the Ormond Memorial Art Museum in Ormond Beach, FL. She now paints full time in her studio.

Karlene has exhibited her work for over 30 years in several galleries and art museums throughout the United States. She is a member of the National Association of Women Artists, a group that regularly exhibits work in venues in New York City and throughout the states. Her work has most recently been exhibited in a group show at the Harlem School for the Arts with NAWA and at AQUA Art Miami with the Projects Gallery. Her artwork is included in the collections of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Security First Insurance, Florida Hospital/Advent Health and that of several private collectors.