Magazine article Artforum International

Karen Carson: Rosamund Felsen Gallery. (Reviews - Los Angeles)

Magazine article Artforum International

Karen Carson: Rosamund Felsen Gallery. (Reviews - Los Angeles)

Article excerpt

Leave it to Karen Carson to pay homage to Cezanne's landscapes in a format usually reserved for promoting the latest twelve-pack special. Carson, who has named paintings after Disney songs and created abstract images based on Renaissance theories of composition, constructed Landscape After Cezanne, 2000, by layering cut-out, drawn-on sheets of colored transparent vinyl over a framed light box, whose fluorescent tubes are themselves wrapped in colored gels to maximize the diffusion and variety of light and hue. The brilliant result appeals to the side of oneself that still admires a good black-light poster while also appealing to the side that admires a solid exercise in color and composition.

Landscape After Cezanne is one of eight light-box works offering a survey of land- and seascape themes in the gallery's darkened back room. As eye-candyish as they are, as eyesore-ish as they flirt with becoming, Mountain Lake with Reflection, 2000, Ocean with Pink Cloud, 2001 and Desert, 2000 (yes, the titles are that syrupy), effectively transported me to odd combinations of places I've been and known--both in real life and in daydreams and fantasies, channeled through a variety of culture and media conduits. Waterfall with Music Notes, 2000, with its cartoony fragments of quarter and eighth notes dancing over a cascading torrent, virtually sings. Forest Fire, 2000, which takes full advantage of the medium's capacity to deliver a range of hot lights and smoldering darks, might bring on bad Bambi flashbacks, but it also solicits a shiver of the sublime, and is as good an example of awesome-nature Romanticism as any. …

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