It isn’t easy to explain what one is looking for when painting. You live moments in life that translate themselves conscious or unconsciously into artworks, as pages of an open and exhibitionist diary. But if I had to define the thread that connects all my works, I would say that I paint light and silence. 

From my first male nudes to my latest works, in which I observe and reinterpret subway scenes in Madrid, my theme has been silence. Lack of communication. Our own and personal solitary confinement.

I observe the people that surround me and find that as different as their lives may seem to me, there is always something we share. The feeling of being alone, and how fragile we are. 

In my portraits I try to cross the line that separates us, to reach out beyond the surface of the skin, find the essence of the person. 

It’s an elusive exercise, frustrating, enriching and very emotional, to which I come back again and again without remedy, even if it makes me suffer, because nothing arouses my curiosity as much as another human being. 

They might not be easy sometimes, but they always want to be true.

 

Light is as important as color in my images. It invades rooms, waters, trees or faces. Mediterranean warm light that remained in my brain as it fell on a body or through the green blinds of my house in a lazy evening in Menorca. 

It is transformed into expressive shades and contrasts that shift away from reality, they escape from it and search the confrontation in the limits of colors. Greens and reds coexist in impossible spaces. I use pure color as pure energy to make others vibrate, it is in a way, my pictorial language.

 

A part of my life was filled with an alienating silence that eventually became a series of male nudes, solitary, strong, sexual and closed up in their intimate labyrinths. They were my first group of related works. 

Always searching for light, I discovered in the sea a different silence: a wonderful, chosen, immense energizing silence that I started painting. All those images that connect me to a memory of freedom and peace are what I call my “Intimate landscapes” and they give the title to this book. 

 

As Benedetti writes in one of his poems,

 

“The sea listens as though it were deaf
ruthless as a god
it outlives all the survivors

I will never know what I expect from it
nor what spell it binds my ankles with
but when these eyes grow weary of paving stones
and go looking among plains and hillocks
or streets branching off into more streets
it’s then I feel shipwrecked and only the sea can
save me”

I don´t know what brings me to him again and again.

 

Today I am exploring a world where time doesn’t count, where silence is full of whispers and life, where a parallel universe has its own laws. The Danish forest, where I feel I have to enter in silence and reverence not to disturb these wonderful giants that might save us all someday.

Karen Kruse