Elementals

Elementals – a solo show of original artwork by Karen Hochman Brown
Four mixed-media banners accompanied by animations
Lancaster Museum of Art and History
August 4 to September 26, 2018
 
I have always been fascinated by finding and creating cohesive art out of dichotomies and juxtapositions: nature and machine, the organic and the technological, micro and macro. My art invites you to discover the potential infinite connections one might find between seemingly disparate worlds.
In the series, “Elementals”, I utilized different machines, both simple (gear driven rope twisting device) and complex (computer), as tools to reinterpret and manipulate the natural world, specifically reimagining the core building blocks of Air (AER), Earth (TERRA), Fire (IGNUS), and Water (AQUA).
 
Mixed-media banners:  satin charmeuse, silk dupioni, wool, wood, aluminum, sheet acrylic, and acrylic paint.

With each piece, I begin by importing a photograph into a modular graphics-synthesizer program where I implement a variety of algorithms. I use polar space, fractal space, assorted modulations, reflections, waves, distortions and symmetries to achieve each layer of my digital constructs. Using this technology, I draw out the essence of my subject, placing focus on details and developing an emotion through repetition and distortion. AER should feel like breath; TERRA is solid yet fertile; IGNUS is unstable and volatile; AQUA is powerful and ever-changing.

Presenting this work as fabric banners has given me a chance to return to the act of physically creating something. As a digital artist, I work at the computer. Most of what I produce never leaves the computer.  When it’s time to print, the substrate then comes into play. For the last several years, I have been printing my kaleidoscopic work on metal. The result is vibrant and shiny. It is also very hard. So I am experimenting with some new toys (laser cutter) and some old toys (sewing machine) and creating something softer to buffer the noise that clutters our lives. 

Accompanying the banners are two mood animations devised from the base photography used to create the flags. These animations are art pieces and have no plot or linear elements.
 

Each banner contains two QR codes that link to extra content related to the artwork. Follow the links below to view the QR content.
One code leads to the photograph used to create the piece. I have paired the image with a poem related to the element. 
 
The other code leads to an animation that illustrates the layers used for the graphic image. For best viewing, watch full screen. Click on the image to start the video.

Shoreline Symmetry

I grew up in Santa Barbara and spent many happy days at the beach. I was the kid who collected driftwood and shells. I would jump rope with the long pieces of sea kelp that were deposited on shore after stormy high tides. And I would spend hours playing in the surf. As I travel, I am always inspired by the majesty of the ocean. The salt air draws me in and the hypnotic rhythms of the waves hook me.

Shoreline Symmetry
A solo exhibition


The Gallery Room at California Center for Digital Arts

Opening September 1, 5-9 PM (part of Santa Ana Artwalk)
Artist Talk, September 22, 2-4 PM
On View through September 30, 2018

or by appointment
(714) 529-4686 or info@centerfordigitalarts.com.

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Botanic Geometry

I’m excited to announce I am having a solo show at Crain Art Gallery! During the six-week run, I will be at the gallery four separate days to visit with you. Saturday, March 3 is my opening reception. I plan to have some video work running as well as the art that is hanging on the walls.

On three days in March and April, I will come to the gallery as Artist-In-Residence. I will be on the grounds during business hours to create a new piece during the day. Come by between 2 and 4 to see how I have progressed with each new artwork. I’d love to talk to you about my process. 

Addendum:  
The April 1 demonstration has a been canceled as the Library will be closed for Easter.

  • Crain Art Gallery “Botanic Geometry” – 2/24/18 – 4/6/18
    Karen Hochman Brown solo show
  • Where: Crowell Public Library – San Marino, CA
  • Reception for the Artist: 3/3/18, 2:00-4:00 PM 
  • Artist-in-Residence Demonstrations: 
    • 3/11/18: 2:00 PM-4:00 PM
    • 3/24/18: 2:00 PM-4:00 PM
    • 4/1/18: 2:00 PM-4:00 PM
  • Hours of Operation:
    • Mon-Thurs: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
    • Fri & Sat: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    • Sunday: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

 

 

There Be Dragons Here

In the winter, around the solstice, we would rejoice in my mother’s front garden, as the dragons would emerge from their spiky nests. For that is what we called the giant, arching flower spikes of the agave atenuata plants that populate the frontage of the property. They became famous. Really! Buses of tourists actually stop for pictures when the dragons are in bloom.

Base image for Agave Solstice
Base image for Agave Solstice

Something I find most fascinating about the agave is that the flowers don’t produce seeds per se. Each blossom in the giant cluster turns into a baby plant, a pup.  And sometimes, a few of the pups still attached to the base of the cluster, in a premature exuberance of growth hormones, will sprout their own blossoms, creating a brood of mini-dragon.

©Susan Shalbe
©Susan Shalbe

Upon blooming, the agave plant has fulfilled it’s mission and produced hundreds of pups that may or may not take root. It’s a numbers game. The plant will whither and die, only to rise again in the form of new growth that will continue the cycle some ten to fifteen years hence. Unfortunately, the small blooming minis suffer the same fate as the mother plant.

The base image for Agave Solstice is from a less explosive stage in the life of the plant.

Agave Solstice
Agave Solstice

It’s done when I say it’s done.

Over the past several months, I have been sharing animations of my work that take you through the process of constructing a piece as I build it up layer by layer. Today I am sharing a different aspect of the creative process. When is a piece done? It is easy to overwork in the quest for that moment when the artwork is finished. Working on the computer, I have the luxury (or is it a curse?) of being able to endlessly edit. I also have the ability to save stages of a piece. The animation I am presenting here goes through many stages in the creation of “Perito Moreno Glacier,” searching for that moment when it is done.

Perito Moreno Glacier_animation from Karen Hochman Brown on Vimeo.

The Perito Moreno Glacier in southern Patagonia was one of the highlights of our trip to Argentina. My husband and I take the standard package deal for most of our travels. No jeeps or helicopters, we do the pedestrian version of the tour. At Perito Moreno, that means a multi-storied catwalk that comes very close to the face of the glacier. Your base of operations is a vast tourist center/cafeteria atop an overlook to the giant glacier. And you walk down a metal path that keeps the hoards from trampling the earth and still get up close to the face.

perito-moreno-triptych
Bits and pieces from the artwork. Some used, some not.

The view is from a high vantage point. The jagged structure of the glacier surface is startling in its severity. I knew I must take many pictures of the amazing blues and patterns to use in a kaleidoscope. As I began to work on the piece, I was continually stymied. My work has been mainly of organic material. The form of giant ice structures and watery blues seem unfamiliar, and monochromatic is problematic. And so I fiddle with many different iterations in search of the point when the piece is done. I believe that creating “Perito Moreno Glacier” took more time than any other work of mine. The animation shows “only” 14 of the 31 versions I recorded. I printed out drafts at an alarming rate. I gave it a rest for two weeks—twice. But in the end, it was beautiful; it was dramatic; it was done. 

Celebrate December’s Holiday Season with “Grevillea Regalia”

Grevillea Regailia2_800wm

Share the Love

#LoveWins

I have always loved making things. As a child, I sold watercolor greeting cards and beaded jewelry in my father’s place of business. I made my own clothes. I painted and crochet and embroidered and set bezels and on and on and on. While reviewing an old diary, I see that at one point, I had wanted to be a world famous fashion designer. I did have a small stint at making playful fabric hats (Bell Hats Over The Pacific) and other children’s dress-up items, but I moved on to working completely on my computer. 

LoveWins Animation from Karen Hochman Brown on Vimeo.

And in the digital realm, there is no actual product. Yes, I can and do print on paper and aluminum substrates that can be used to dress up walls. But my earlier passion was to make garments and personal adornments. For this, I have had to wait for the technology to print designs on fabric. And it is quite an interesting world now that artwork can be translated into fashion on demand! The first manufacturer I used gave me a good looking garment, but the fabric was thin and I was worried about having a Lululemon moment. Fortunately, I have found a company that produces a fine product that I am proud to present.

Leggings and beanie design from "LoveWins."
Leggings and beanie designs based on the artwork “LoveWins.”

I decided to use my artwork “LoveWins” for my first foray into digital printing on fabric. The piece was made in support of marriage equality and I think using it for fashion is an expressive way to share the love. The leggings and beanies I started with are a fun and cool way to take my artwork off the walls and share the love with the world. You can find them and other designs I’ve been working on over on my Art of Where site here!

 

Synthesized painting

This summer I had the opportunity to do a finite series of 50 small artworks in 50 days. I set up parameters for the work, one aspect was that I incorporate a technique I haven’t used before in the kaleidoscope pieces.

Yellow Sunflower Animation from Karen Hochman Brown on Vimeo.

For the entire series, I designed a custom paint brush that I created in the program Studio Artist (Synthetik Software) to create the backgrounds from each of my base images. Studio Artist is a graphics synthesizer that can apply individual brushstrokes based on a photograph or image. The program looks at the contours, luminance, color and texture and then can either auto-draw or be specifically directed by the user. 

Three examples of Studio Artist brushes
Three examples of Studio Artist brushes on the same rainbow sphere base.

Watch the animation and you will see the brushstrokes being applied in Studio Artist. From the resulting “painting” of the sunflower base image, I reflected a portion around into the background. The additional layers are more similar to my kaleidoscopic work. They are reflected and distorted, but still keep the starter image intact. 

Are You Feeling The Energy?

The Great Big Aloe Eye in the Sky is one of my more energetic pieces. The bright orange of the aloe bloom vibrates against the brisk blue sky. 

The Great Big Aloe Eye In The Sky Animation from Karen Hochman Brown on Vimeo.

I took the photograph used to create this work at the Los Angeles County Arboretum. It had rained only hours before I arrived. I usually focus in on the flower for my pieces, but the combination of the orange spikes and clear blue sky were irresistible.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Base Image for “The Great Big Aloe Eye in the Sky”

The Great Big Aloe Eye in the Sky is featured as the cover of my 2017 calendar. I only have a limited number and they will sell out quickly. 

cover-front-and-back-2500
Click here to purchase the 2017 Wall Calendar

Keep Loving

Loving Day commemorates the 1967 Supreme Court decision of Loving v. Virginia, the case that legalized interracial marriage. Both the case and the holiday take their name from Richard and Mildred Loving, a couple that grew up and fell in love in Virginia. Although Loving v. Virginia was decided in 1967, the most reluctant southern states took until the year 2000 to repeal their miscegenation laws. This became pertinent in my life when our family became inter-racial when my son and his wife were married on Loving Day. The basis for this artwork is my beautiful daughter-in-law’s wedding bouquet.

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