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The Ann Arbor News
16 June 2002
Intensity meets warm colors in precise, vital compositions
by John Carlos Cantu
Julie Karabenick’s “Recent Paintings” at the Washington Street Gallery
features this local artist’s colorful computerized geometry reconstructed on acrylic canvases. 

As Karabenick says of her art, “Works in geometric abstraction are
sometimes considered intellectual or remote. However, such
judgments diverge markedly from both the working attitude and intent
of my work. I would like my paintings to delight the senses and
engender an aesthetically pleasing experience.”

Karabenick further adds that she uses technology to develop her
compositions by transferring pencil sketches with color experiments
“often over a period of months” in her computer. The result of her effort
are paintings that are in her words, “unified, delicately balanced, yet
dynamic wholes,” where each design is transferred to the canvas with
areas of color being “carefully masked off, its edges sealed, and
multiple thin layers of flat acrylic paint applied.”

Karabenick’s strategy is a melding of mid-20th century Dutch master
Piet Mondrian’s stricktly rectilinear geometric abstraction to the use of
computer graphics.

This fusion of intense theorization with relatively uncomplicated
palettes and patterns has yielded some astonishingly sophisticated
art that’s both pristine and passionate.

Karabenick’s paintings—each is given the title of “Composition” and
assigned by number—floats effortlessly on its working surface in a
carefully measured harmony. The precise geometry branches off in
serial precision while sharp-edged acrylic pigments produce a
delightfully vibrant chromatic symmetry.

In crafting these deceptively complicated artworks through a stylish
aesthetic that demands exactness and heart, Karabenick’s work
gives us color and form shorn of superfluous adornment. Such a
refinement is as rare as it is accomplished.


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