As someone who spent many happy hours as a child watching huge electromagnets unload metal from railroad cars into the steel mill that was about a block from my house in northern Delaware, I find a particular resonance in the urban landscapes of Minnesota artist Michael Kareken.
In them Kareken finds rich subject matter in the jumbled piles of twisted metal in a scrap yard in Minneapolis and the textured heaps of scrap paper in a recycling plant near his studio in St. Paul.
He explores the shifting piles of metal, made rich in texture and color by varying degrees of chrome and rust, realistically rendering geometries that would have satisfied the most enthusiastic cubist; and sifts through the landslides of scrap paper to find shimmering patterns of light and dark, intersecting in waves of shadows.
When looking through his gallery of recent paintings, it’s worth clicking on the “Download” link at the top of the bar of thumbnails to get a larger resolution version of the works.
You can see something of the scale of Kareken’s paintings in the photos of his studio.
There is also a section of his drawings, that finds him investigating many of the same themes, but with the emphasis on value over color.
In addition his site contains an archive of older work that explores other themes, including figurative work and interiors.
Kareken is participating in a Father/Son Art Show at Schuerman Fine Art, in which he and his six year old son Owen display their art along with three other sets of father & son artists. The show runs from June 18 to July 31, 2009.
[Via Painting Perceptions]