It’s late in the show but there’s still time to see Carol Flaitz’s recent work at Skylight Gallery on W 29 St.
I had an opportunity to talk to Carol about the origins of her work, her influences, and so forth. Let me say that I’m a big fan of her work and her attitude.
To distill this conversation into a single overriding concept, Carol’s work reflects the wonder of the universe and its exemplification through scientific concept into art.
Where did she come from? Strangely enough: ceramics. Why ceramics? Because a painting professor was insulting and derogatory, she switched to a different medium. I doubt that Carol was ever your everyday ceramicist, turning out pretty little pots and bowls. She made me laugh telling a story of how she burned down a kiln in Wales (her MFA is from the South Glamorgan Institute of Higher Learning in Cardiff) when she attempted a piece with porcelain, ceramic and stoneware clays. The kiln was a disaster but the piece was something of a success with molten areas where the clay simply flowed and other where the porcelain held it’s shape.
Carol’s paintings are all about science at the macroscopic and microscopic levels. She’s not terribly interested in the immediately visible. Working on wood (as opposed to canvas) she carves, drills and routs to create levels.
In some work, the Fissure series, she uses the mattest black possible, blocking all light and depth, to mirror the blackness of space and its perceptual infinity. You stare into these spaces and are drawn into them as much for the surrounding bands of color as for the utter blackness of their depths.
In other work, such as Nanofalls, she mixes acrylic paint and resin, giving us magnified nanosurfaces with the resin serving as the current flowing from point to point.
In yet other paintings, Carol has begun working with encaustic (see earlier article). Even in her encaustic work, Carol adds dimension to the wax, not by adding objects, but by building spot upon spot, layer upon layer of colored wax. Encaustic, as we all know, is a very difficult medium even when using the simplest pour, embed, melt techniques. When using it to create texture and surface, I cannot imagine the technical issues of spot surfacing.
I’m going to let you in on Carol’s next technical challenge: a painting which incorporates the black hole, acrylic, resin and encaustic. I’m sure we’re all looking forward to seeing it.
I believe that Carol is an immensely talented artist whose work will one day be in all the major museums. Meanwhile, do try to see Carol’s work at Skylight Gallery through May 5. If, by chance, you happen to be in Berlin on May 12, Carol’s work (along with Carla Goldberg’s) will be opening at the Kunstelben Berlin Gallery.