May 2014: Karen Croner & Gillian Freney

Gillian Freney is an oil painter using subtractive methods to produce her art. The paintings on frosted Mylar are mostly a process of removing paint. She start by covering part or all of the surface with paint, and then removing the paint with various rubber tools, cloth, paper, mineral spirits, etc. The Mylar has a slippery surface, so the paint slides around on the surface with ease. “I can wipe the paint off to reveal a completely clean surface, which is liberating.” Nests have been a recurring subject for her. To quote Gillian “I like that they are simultaneously elegant and messy. I love how the stray bits along the edges reveal so much about their construction. I’m amazed and impressed that birds make them. Another series she will be showing are her color panels. They are also created by removing paint, although in this case she puts layers of color one atop the next (oil on gessoed panels), removing paint with various tools to reveal the layers beneath. “While I don’t start out with landscapes in mind, they often come to resemble landscapes and geology.

Karen Croner is a mixed media sculptor working with wire, papier-mâché, paper clay, fabric, plaster, and acrylic paints. Her new pieces are inspired by some very old stories. As she puts it: “These one-of-a-kind animal sculptures are my take on iconic characters in favorite Grimm’s fairy tales: the innocent children who wander in the woods; the tricksters, witches, and scheming stepmothers who steer the kids wrong; the mischief, sorcery, and threats they endure; princes and princesses who struggle to set the world right. My goal was never to make sculptures of “the big bad wolf.” Instead I hope my wolves show enough range and complexity to be as innocent as they are threatening.” Each of my sculptures begins with a wire armature and then papier-mâché. I use other simple materials -- paper clay, fabric, plaster, and acrylic paints -- to create unique textures and features. The materials present challenges but also surprises. The tension between these humble ingredients and my utmost vision for each piece motivates me to explore and innovate.