Thursday, November 15, 2012

Self Reflections

Karen Kaapcke "Self Portrait as Insomniac" 2011/12

New York City-based artist Karen Kaapcke uses self-portraiture as a way to examine the extraordinary yet commonplace phenomenon of the life cycle, both its growth and decay. An external representation of a process that is both internal and external, indeed, systemic, self-portraiture lends itself to the unflinching gaze of the artist/scientist/philosopher. More prosaically, if you are a figurative painter who paints from life it is not always possible to have a model at your command, especially at 3 o'clock in the morning!

Karen Kaapcke "Self Portrait with Armoire" 2011
Kaapcke in fact has an advanced  degree in Philosophy but went on to study art at The Art Student's league and also at the the National Academy of Design. The teacher who has most influenced her is Ted Jacobs with whom she has studied in NYC and in France.

Karen Kaapcke "Self Portrait with Unilluminated Lamp" 2012

Kaapcke has exhibited widely in the US, participating in exhibitions at the Butler Institute of American Art and the Salmagundi club, among other places. She is currently part of Converge, an exhibition (opening tonight in NYC!) that celebrates over 30 classically trained artists who are part of the contemporary art scene. Says the curator Allison Malafronte of this group, of whom Kaapcke is an excellent example, "All [the artists in the show]bring intelligent thought and reflective examination to the works they create. They each have a desire to reach beyond surface appearance and paint something of meaning and significance."

Karen Kaapcke "Self Portrait While the Houseguests are Occupied" 2010

Kaapcke takes a piercing look at what it is like to be a woman with a young family living in New York City. While non-journalistic in approach, nonetheless, these scattered moments of stillness in her busy days appeal through their honesty and sensitivity. This last piece, "Self Portrait while the Houseguests are Occupied" was the first piece of Kaapcke's I ever saw, and although it caught my eye visually, the title made me laugh in appreciation, and take a closer look at the artist's entire oeuvre. Who doesn't know that feeling of momentary relief when even the most delightful and anticipated guests have plans that take them temporarily out of your orbit? Kaapcke's special genius is most apparent when she captures such heartfelt but hard to express moments in a life, elusive emotions brought on by day to day circumstances we all share.


Nancy T said...

Thanks for introducing this artist -- enjoyed the post!

Fay Stanford said...

Wow! What an amazing artist is tis woman. She paints all the important stuff.

Alexandra Tyng said...

I love Karen Kaapcke's self-portraits and I am enjoying watching her fascinating journey from classical training onwards. She's way up on my list of favorite artists.