Karen Gunderson

HENRY GERRIT : Artnews : December, 1977

Karen Gunderson (Gloria Cortella): In a show titles “Views From Above,” Gunderson exhibited acrylic paintings on canvas and gouaches on paper all treating the same theme, clouds.  Rather than using her subject matter as the taking-off point for painterly abstraction, Gunderson adapted a delicately naturalistic style, with an almost photographic eye for the textural and coloristic subtleties of the lower heavens.  There is no way, however, for the artist to get around the supremely poetic nature of her thunderheads and cumulus and nimbus formations; in the sheer accuracy of the hues in a painting like Pink Ridge – a halo of pink clouds surrounding a powder blue formation – lies its sublimity, and it’s only natural that the largest painting in the show, of powder blue clouds drifting across a peaceful blue and white sky, should be titled Elysian Fields.  This choice of scenery and style may seem too easy for comfort.  Then again, it takes incredible skill to keep these canvases from dissolving into mere prettiness, or just dissolving, neither of which, given Gunderson’s inspired handiwork, happens.