Michael Kareken

October 16 – November 29, 2014


PARTS, a joint exhibition of new work by Michael Kareken, opens Thursday, October 16. This unique exhibition will feature Kareken’s charcoal and conté drawings at the Groveland Annex. A simultaneous companion exhibition of his large, mixed-media paintings will be displayed at Burnet Gallery at Le Méridien Chambers in downtown Minneapolis.

In these exhibitions, Kareken continues to explore fragments of cars that have been stripped in an auto salvage yard. While some of the cars were damaged in accidents, most of them were deconstructed for their parts, leaving behind skeletons of cars, their inner-workings exposed. Kareken’s drawings are composed of individual parts and pieces: pulleys, fans and belts are sensitively rendered and their forms brought into crisp focus. These elements are anchored by shadows and expressionistic marks that suggest the chaos of the larger mechanics beyond the composition’s focal point. Kareken’s ink and acrylic paintings on paper present a complicated tangle of car engine tubes and wires. These dynamic compositions explore the figurative aspects of these inanimate objects, and the artist’s use of collage lends his paintings a tactility resembling the subject itself. The artist explains:

“For me, these forms are strongly suggestive of the human body, and there is a disturbing sense of violation in the casual way that the vehicles have been dismantled. I have tried to highlight this figurative reference and to experiment with formal and technical approaches that allow the work to embody the sense of vulnerability, fragility and disfigurement that I perceive in the subject.

In several new pieces I am using a collage technique to construct the forms of the vehicles themselves. My newest work is created from dozens of old, abandoned drawings that I have ripped apart and recycled into a new image. This technique creates a rough, layered surface that viscerally conveys the feeling of fragmentation and disintegration inherent in the subject matter. At the same time (and paradoxically), the technique gives me a sense of physically building up the subject, as if the collage and painting process is a means of reconstructing or resurrecting the dismantled vehicles.”