Karen Gallagher Iverson Gilded Dunes Bodega Bay in Crimson | 31 Women | Whitney Modern

31 Women

Karen Gallagher Iverson Gilded Dunes Bodega Bay in Crimson - 31  Women

KAREN GALLAGHER IVERSON: Gilded Dunes, Bodega Bay in Crimson (Triptych)

Pochoir and drawn colored pastel on wax on panel  
24 x 54 in

Karen Gallagher Iverson originally went to college with the intent to study Archeology and Anthropology, and minor in Studio Arts at SUNY, Albany. This quickly became a double major and then a life changing experience influenced this decision—her apartment caught fire and burned down. She realized after fleeing the burning building that what she was studying in the ground wasn’t necessarily the truth of life, instead it was a record of what wasn’t important enough to take when braving the flames of change. “You grab what’s alive when you flee.” The truth of this to Gallagher Iverson is that the vibrancy of a culture is what lives on with you. She realized that semester that she wanted to sink into that vision of the world, and visual art served it best. Gallagher Iverson graduated with her degree in Studio Arts and went on to earn her MFA at San Francisco Art Institute. Once Gallagher Iverson enters the studio below her home, she is “on the clock” and doesn’t take care of family things until she returns with her children after school. Guarding this work time, her daily practice starts with a review of her notebooks and planner to see what tasks need to be done or where she left off the day before. She keeps notes on everything: colors mixed and used, material ratios, exposure times, even when she last installed a new blade in her cutter. She also logs random thoughts and ideas that come up while she is working. Her approach to printmaking is very methodical. She says, “much of what people consider in the moment creative expression happens for me in my mind, in the way I plan things to layer, through the choices I make along the way, and when I’m drawing into my final layers.” Central to her work is integrating some aspect of printmaking. Gallagher Iverson explains “once I realized it could take me where I wanted to go, I didn’t really falter from print; although, as a medium it really can incorporate a whole host of other mediums.” A common theme in most of her current work can be “reduced to catching, or translating, light and dimension though pattern.” It is things like sudden shifts in light that truly inspire Gallagher Iverson. Along with these natural phenomena, she admires the work of Louise Bourgeois and Agnes Martin. Everything Gallagher Iverson read about Bourgeois pointed to a person of skill, tenacity and prolific activity. She finds Bourgeois’ drawings and drypoint etchings most compelling. With Agnes Martin, Gallagher Iverson says that it is “just honest, beautiful artwork. And work that was able to rise with success in a very male art world.”

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