studio visit

2019 preview: Michel Karsouny’s Positive Absurdism

Organic shapes in garish colors, swirling around as unhinged volutes, roam about Michel Karsouny’s canvases, in constant flux. Save for seeming accidents, like the odd drip or unblended brushstrokes, everything is flat. But if there is a certain flatness and bravado to Karsouny’s work, sensuality and playfulness have replaced Greenbergian modernist self-seriousness.


Although all seems unrestrained, it gradually appears there is a method to Karsouny’s apparently spontaneous all-over compositions, in the way he creates correspondences within them, and accents emerge to punctuate one’s eye’s journey, drawing it in, out of and around the canvas. Blurred outlines and interlaced shapes’ constant connection and disconnection seem relevant to our uncertain digital times.

Le Ladyland de Marguerite, 2018.
Karsouny infuses joy back into painting, often displaying a not-quite-dionysiac, yet definitely an eager and earnest approach to artmaking. Describing his standpoint as “positive absurdism,” he appears to be on a quest to elicit a certain spontaneous meditative joy. The paintings, in fact, demand to suspend thought processes to focus on vision to and perhaps enter an introspective journey. They are entirely self-referential, with no symbol or shape pointing to anything outside the canvas, neither physical nor notional. They say nothing about their maker, or their origins. They call little attention to  process, and attempt to refute visual analysis. Yet, this is not art for art’s sake, but art that shifts the focus back to feeling.


Michel Karsouny’s having a one-day pop up open studio day at the Guiragossian Museum on Friday, December 28, 2018, from 5.30 to 9.30 pm, in anticipation of his upcoming 2019 solo show.

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