Contemporary Architecture Paintings by Kaline Carter
It only makes sense that this exhibition of my work inspired by the city of Los Angeles be called “Metropolis.” The word metropolis is defined as “the capital or chief city of a region” and “a very large and densely populated industrial or commercial city.” Certainly, this represents Los Angeles.
Over the last decade, I have consistently visited Los Angeles annually and have collected hundreds of snapshots from walking around the city. Every city seems to have its own distinct personality when it comes to architecture, color, and composition. I am trying to capture this essence in my Los Angeles series. Interestingly, although Los Angeles is a densely populated city, the images I have captured translate to a more spacious and airy feel. L.A. can have this effect on viewers. Walking through the city, you can feel closed in by some skyscrapers downtown, but shortly after, you can turn a corner, and your focus shifts to the beautiful California sky. In my paintings, I have tried to convey this feeling to the viewer by depicting a bright sky framed with constructed concrete casting shadows.
My Los Angeles series is a metropolis in and of itself- currently standing at more than 100 paintings. Some are acrylic on paper, some on canvas. I have now moved to painting with acrylics and Flashe vinyl paints on the panel. In addition to paring down the major shapes of the city’s skyline and abstracted street views, I have also enjoyed playing with the nuances of matte versus gloss. I enjoy using metallic paints and sandpaper textures against a smooth, ultra-matte color. I like these contrasts in the work as they translate the different materials used in constructing the buildings in an urban landscape. The way sunlight hits the materials and changes the color or value of what we see is really interesting to me because these are all unique perspectives and sites that we may never capture again. Each is its very own moment in time.
Using hard-edge painting techniques, I can show the big, geometric shapes and patterns that the cities exude. I use a lot of tapes and paint mediums to get clean, sharp lines so the viewer’s eye can follow the story and fall into the view as if they are walking through the Metropolis with me. Although my paintings are considered abstracts, they are certainly also representational in the sense that the shapes are definitely stand-ins for buildings and windows. I feel a special connection to Ellsworth Kelly’s works while working on this series. Using different paints like the Flashe vinyl paints has allowed me to experiment with the ultra-matte effects along with intensely saturated and brilliant colors. Looking at Kelly’s work, it gives me the courage to follow my instincts with bold color choices.
We are all surrounded by architecture, changing light, and quick glances around a corner or from a window. This is what we experience every day. I like trying to capture these abstracted views and translating them into paintings. Each painting in Metropolis represents its very own moment in time yet feels very familiar and reminiscent of other places and times.