ARTisSpectrum Vol.27, May 2012

124 ARTisSpectrum T he acrylic on linen paintings of Karin Galler (“KAGA”) are at once haunting and stimulating. Galler relies on half-formed shapes and an expressive hand to create her abstractions, but she has an editor’s instinct for composition. Though her paintings have enormous depth, they are never confusing or crowded. Instead she focuses on one central motif and lets the rich texture and color of the paint conjure up an atmosphere all by themselves. This is the ideal of abstract painting: paring it all down to the visual and thereby creating meaning out of materiality. The Austrian-born Galler often sticks to a palette of earth tones, carefully deployed to juxtapose complex gradients against bold streaks of bright color. She attributes especial importance to primary colors and the use of black. Formal contrasts, in fact, are what drive all her work, since she refuses to yoke her images to any figurative or representational associations. From the variety of the brushstrokes she uses to her layering of organic shapes atop straight lines, everything about Galler’s painting style is hard-edged. Each element draws every other into question. “Painting for the sole nature of painting is not enough for me,” she explains. “I want to seduce you into the depth of contemplation and thinking.” Gefolge Acrylic on Linen 28” x 28” Karin Galler (“KAGA”) “ Color has an immense healing strength,” says Gabriella Legno , and the painter’s light-infused palette is a reflection of that healing power. In her work, even browns and grays take on a radiant aura that gives her abstract paintings a feeling of sunlight and a sense of physicality. She primarily works in watercolors, using an “extremely delicate technique” to bring out all of the lightness and transparency that the medium makes possible. Combining her “dense, material colors” with that lightness is just one way in which the artist shows the way from everyday reality to a more spiritual level of existence. Another way in which Legno makes that spiritual path visible is to present “known and visible shapes which drive to the unknown and to the invisible.” By mixing the known and the unknown, she creates a world in which the boundaries between abstraction and representation are bridged. Cityscapes, flowers and ocean waves emerge from the patterns she creates, providing points of contact that pull us in and compel our attention. In these compositions, even the most abstract symbols and swirls are animated with a life all their own. For Legno, who lives and works in the southern Italian town of Lecce, communicating that sense of life is essential. “My art,” she says, is a way to depict “the divine universe which is inside everyone.” Meditation Watercolor & Varnish on Panel 28” x 28” Gabriella Legno