Roman Fine Art is pleased to present Manifestations, a solo exhibition by Sag Harbor based painter Elizabeth Karsch. This collection of new works marks Karsch’s debut exhibit at Roman Fine Art. Manifestations features work created during a particularly productive period Karsch experienced while navigating the Covid 19 pandemic with her family. Inspired by the flow of energy between people and around places, Karsch uses mark making to physically depict things that are essentially intangible. The exhibit will remain on view through Monday, April 18th.
Karsch creates vivid mixed-media paintings that swell with bursts of color and tangled lines. Her images are complexly layered, sometimes appearing as gestural landscapes and, at other times, as dancing figures or swirling spirits. A highly personal arrangement of music, podcasts and news stories are embedded in the visual representation of each painting, as her practice is rooted in both the absorption of sound, and transference of energy. Karsch’s work is made in response to the energy around her, which shifts dramatically between the changing seasons here on the East End. The paintings featured in Manifestations fluctuate between airy, monochromatic studies made in the quiet Winter months, to the frenetic and heavily layered explosions of color and form that dominate paintings, representative of the more hectic Summer season. Each painting is touched with the moments and pieces of Karsch’ daily life – the audio media she hears on her drives, the local politics her husband delivers at the dinner table – these among other things, as well as her personal reactions to them, are woven into her work through strokes of charcoal and swaths of paint.
While Karsch’s earliest work was figural, she lost interest in drawing bodies. She eventually turned to abstraction when her mother passed away in 2005. When remembering that moment in time, Karsch states, “I was so immersed in grief, I couldn’t allow myself the pleasures of drawing the human body, since my mom no longer had the pleasure of living in hers.” This shift to abstraction led to a deeper understanding of the non-physical, specifically the energy that surrounds us, and a practice reliant on intuition and feeling. This marked a significant departure for Karsch, who always used the established techniques or the technical training required for figuration in her past work. Instead of planning out each composition, she layers colors and materials over each other until forms begin to present themselves. That is, until the stories within each piece began to emerge, with lives uniquely their own. As each artwork evolves, forms begin to reveal themselves within the compositions, and images emerge and take form without her knowledge.