Karen Gunderson

GRACE GLUECK: The New York Times: Weekend: Art In Review: Karen Gunderson King's: Friday December 4,1998

Karen Gunderson
Donahue/Sosinski Art
560 Broadway, at Prince Street
Through Dec 19

Five Kings from history who score high in social or esthetic consciousness are the subjects of Karen Gunderson’s all-black paintings, which make skilled technical use of black as a medium for painting light.  Cleverly modulating her brush strokes to produce Stygian darkness and silver-gray luminosities, she dwells on the aspect of each king that strikes her as most worthy.

Christian X of Denmark (1870-1947), for instance, is shown on horseback wearing a giant six-point star, to salute his “moral courage” in helping to rescue Danish Jews from the Nazis.  Louis XIV of France (1638-1715), who strikes a dandy’s pose with sword inside an elaborate cartouche, is hailed as the “King of avant-garde” for his dealings with artists, architects and artisans to make “art and beauty” a French industry.  And so on.

It is meant as no disparagement to say that Ms. Gunderson is a fine set designer and illustrator, whose cleverly theatrical work is a pleasure to behold.