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karen kruse
About this artwork
En el metro II
acrylic on canvas
h.73cm w.92cm d.2cm
Mar 2015

karen's Description: Painting unknown people, a step out of the intimate space.

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JP Delaney

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2015-04-20 22:59

I dedicate this scene to my friend Hillel, whose subway scenes were the second paintings I layed eyes upon, in this website.
I don't really care if it takes place in the subway or not, my only interest is focused in the people. Their attitudes, their faces, their body language. They are fast sketches of a moment.

2015-05-03 13:21

I agree with Hanjo that the direction you seem to be taking with these last couple of works is definitely interesting. Visually quicker, the avoidance of detail, more dynamic, works very well in the context of individuals sharing a temporary travelling space. Nevertheless in this piece you've given them a heaviness, and an expression oblivious to each other's presence that makes them seem more like merchandise in transit, than people. The preponderance of a deep and cold blue adds to the feeling of shared isolation. In this sense it's quite different from the previous work LINK which is, to my mind, much more theatrical in it's use of colour, clothing, and physical "types". Here instead you've lowered the bar and gone for the monotonous happenchance of the situation rather than the individuals.

It's also interesting to see artists render their own version of a theme introducted by another on this site LINK, setting up a narrative over time. I'm not sure if Hillel looks at ap anymore, but I'm sure he'd get a great kick out of your dedication. Good work Karen!

2015-05-03 21:28

Each is portrayed with eyes shut. Do they not want see each other or anything? Or, do the individuals not want to be seen? Or, an expression of Jung's Collective Unconscious? The mostly blue color of the painting may also indicate loyalty, or reliability, as in "true blue". Blue also sometimes has been used to indicate contemplation and prayer. Blue is conservative, and dislikes change. Of course there's many ways one could see this picture, and I suppose that is one of the reasons I find it so intriguing. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

2015-05-04 19:13

Well Gigi, it seems to me that actually the woman's eyes (only one is visible to the viewer) are open, and that she's focussing up at some objective in the distance, whereas, as you say, it's blatantly obvious that the men are completely blind to whatever it is that's going on around them.
Maybe it's exactly this, Karen's point?
Might you know if Jung had something to say about men opting out, and women who take on the role of communal visionary/leader?

I'm curious to understand if (we) men are being given a particularly negative judgement in this painting, and if so, are we deserving of the depiction? (actually maybe that very last query I should leave out, as it's only likely to garner responses of well-honed and long-prepared invective...)

Nevertheless it would be interesting to hear a woman's opinion the male role - always in respect to Karen's painting, of course.

Furthermore, I'm curious about your remark on the predominance of the colour blue, and I'd like to invite your opinion, if I may, of this painting in relation to Karen's previous work LINK, which to me exerts a very different ethos, especially in terms of colour and human character.

2015-05-04 19:56

I think the woman's head is tilted back in order to relax her neck muscles so that she can "cat nap" without the jolt of her head falling forward, and thus disturbing her quiet space. Try as I did, I still don't see that her eyes are open. I see that the three figures are unified two ways. Their eyes shut, and they are all wearing the color blue. I see no sexist judgements here.


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