Artist's Statement

In the series of paintings Equilibrium, I have returned to an exploration of solitary boat hulls begun a decade ago.

I began the first series of boat images in the fall of 1993 following a trip to Greenland. I had encountered a solitary boat hull - inverted, ribs exposed, lashed down to wooden posts on a rocky hillside. And so began my fascination with the ribs of eroding boats.

Since that initial series of large scale paintings of a decade ago I have periodically returned to the exploration of representations of skeletal hulls. In 2002 I produced a small suite of intaglio prints entitled Resting Place . It was the process of working on these ghostly distilled images that has brought me once again to explore the solitary skeletal hulls in large scale paintings. The series Equilibrium, begun in the fall of 2003, is the result of this exploration.

In Equilibrium my approach to the boat hulls has undergone a dramatic shift. No longer are the boats revealed within a quiet essence of twilight. In these paintings the static surface of the eroded boats is juxtaposed with a maelstrom of atmospheric impact.

In Equilibrium I am concerned with conflict: Conflict between the static nature of the eroding boat and turbulent abstract atmosphere that surrounds it; Conflict between our recognition of the shape of the boat, an almost universal human tool, and our simultaneous awareness that this boat is no longer a vessel; Conflict within the sanded and layered surfaces of the painting between what is revealed and what is hidden by light.

There is in these paintings which are of an undeniably human scale a sense of barely restrained power - Equilibrium. The method of painting on birch is intimately related to erosion and excavation - sanding and scraping the surface to reveal the pigments, glazes and texture trapped beneath the surface.

This boat shared much with other subject matter that I have explored over the past several years. Since the early 90’s I have been occupied with exploring and depicting objects and structures made by humans from organic materials. These objects are primarily objects of containment - images of vessels, boats, stones, urns, shafts, grinding stones. The objects depicted are in the process of eroding, being taken back by nature.

~Karen Curry, February, 2004