“Betwixt and Between”
I am of the belief that the human mind is hardwired to create order out of disorder. I begin each work with a rhythmic web of marks, lines, and colors that stretch across the painting surface. It is important to integrate the unexpected into my work: with every misstep that occurs, there is an opportunity to take the image in new directions.
As I am interested in creating a varied and complex surface, I work back and forth between the addition and subtraction of materials. I liken my subtractive process to the excavation of earth that an archaeologist undergoes while searching for remnants of the past. Alas, I am a Modernist at heart.
Conceptually, this body of work circles around the condition of LIMINALITY. (from the Latin word “limen”, meaning "a threshold") Liminality may refer to the disorientation that occurs during times of division and transition (divorce, dislocation, conversion, etc.) As a 2nd generation American, the malleability of cultural identity is on one foot freeing, and on the other foot destabilizing. Despite this rending, liminal borders and boundaries metaphorically zip together what had once been divided, and create rich opportunities for growth. Stitches atone for what once was torn. It is on the horizon where sky and land are reconciled.
Archaeologist Marie Louise Stig Sorensen relates, “..material culture is at the same time active and pliable, meaningful but not absolute.” The imagery that emerges from my artistic process owes its inspiration and existence to the initial marks, lines, and colors, and to all of the subsequent layers in between.
Kari Lennartson, MFA… grew up with one foot in Minnesota, the other in Canada, jumping on hay bales and picking wild berries. Borders and boundaries, as well as the notion of “home” have been salient motifs during her artistic career. She earned her MFA in Painting at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. She completed a BA in Studio Arts and Scandinavian Studies from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, during which time she spent a semester studying Nordic Art History at Uppsala University in Uppsala, Sweden. A second generation Scandinavian- American, Lennartson speaks both Swedish and Norwegian with near-fluency.
In her artwork, Lennartson uses acrylic paints with mixed media such as charcoal, pastel, colored pencil, cattle markers, graphite, and collage elements. She prefers the tenderness of paper, closely followed by the rigidity of panel painting, and blushingly admits her adoration for modernist/ formalist aesthetics. Surface texture and line play a significant role in guiding the artist’s process of intuiting the whimsical interplay of shape and pattern. Conceptually, her extensive international travel continues to satiate Lennartson’s lust for liminality in both space and time.
She has been an Artnaut since 2016.