Karen Roth

"Welcome To My Studio", acrylic paint, mixed media on canvas

My paintings vary in subject matter ranging from abstract forms to images of the urban environment, landscapes or still life objects. One thing, though, does remain constant and ties all of the work together. They are highly textured rather than sleek and smooth producing artwork that is rough, unpolished, rudimentary and tactile. 

This concept began during the seventies when I lived in Detroit, my hometown. I was very much affected by the decline of the city as it began to change and deteriorate. Beautiful buildings were now on display with facades ripped away exposing walls covered with peeling paint and graffiti. This new reality motivated me to create abstract images that were gritty and raw and that possessed an energy that is not present on a surface that is flat and smooth. 

I continue to use this process which involves applying plaster or modeling paste and other material to stretched canvas which is then painted, scraped, scratched, carved and peeled repeatedly. Plaster is pliable and works well with my intuitive instincts allowing me to make changes as I go along. With this method I can build the surface in layers that evolve as the idea develops and changes through time. The final result is usually quite different from the original concept.