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Contraband Places

31 Women is now on View through April 30th at Whitney Modern in Los Gatos, CA. An invitational exhibition curated by Marianne McGrath with Karen Gutfreund + Suzanne Whitney-Smedt. 31 Women celebrates the work of 31 female artists in honor of Women’s History Month. Highlighted individually throughout the exhibition each artist will be featured on social media, blogs, websites and in the gallery – one woman a day for the month of March. In light of the 2020 shelter-in-place orders placed upon California, Whitney Modern has extended the show through April, offering private viewing appointments. The Curators continue to offer intimate glimpses into not only each artist's studio, but also our internal work space where inspiration informs creativity and drives conceptual dialogue.

" I first became familiar with the work of Karen Gallagher Iverson a few years ago when I was art curator at NUMU. She is a member of California Society of Printmakers (CSP) and participated in an exhibit we hosted for CSP in 2018. Last year our paths crossed again when I juried a CSP show in Monterey, CA. It has truly been a pleasure to get to know Gallagher Iverson, visit her studio, learn about her thoughtful, innovative printmaking process, and see her gorgeous work in person. Don’t miss “Gilded Dunes, Bodega Bay in Crimson” (Image 2) in “31 Women” on view and available at Whitney Modern, Los Gatos – you will lose yourself in the delicate lines and layers of subtle color that compose a tranquil landscape among the costal dunes. -MK McGrath

Karen Gallagher Iverson "Gilded Dunes, Bodega Bay in Crimson" 2018

" Gallagher Iverson recently shared more thoughts about her art inspiration and sent me this short essay about Helen Frankenthaler that I would like to share with everyone today. Karen Gallagher Iverson, tells us:

I tend not to look at other artists’ work when i’m first building up a new project. But once I have my feet planted in my next idea and begin laying informed choices into the materials that I’ve chosen, I start looking around for other artists to “talk with”. Sort of like seeking out my own private dialogue between what I’m working on and the other artist’s fully formed pieces. This is absolutely something I did with the Lithographs of Helen Frankenthaler.

JMW Turner Watercolor on Paper

Frankenthaler’s work, and the work of JM William Turner, both occupy the same space in my mind - it was no surprise that they were featured in an exhibition duet together a few years ago at Turner Contemporary. Even Turner’s most descriptive and illustrative works are a dissolving of location into a vapor of color and depth - sound and scent can sometimes seem more visible to me then the physical feature of the land in his paintings.

In Frankenthaler’s work the opposite is true for me. Helen’s work is often seen thorough the prism of abstraction, but I always find myself trying to pinpoint moments of representational depiction, even if its purely internal. As though some primal part of my brain is fired up. Much like a parent who cant help but see the features and gestures of her extended family in the faces of her daughters. I often felt misguided for doing so, too. I continually bring contraband places into her work, breaking the art history classroom rules by selecting reference points. Frankenthaler’s lithographs are truly spectacular. The loose spill of tusche in the lithograph “Lilac Sweep” becomes an object in itself, but its also this weightless horizon with the presence of granite.

Helen Frankenthaler "Lilac Sweep" Lithograph, 2006

As I work through my current encaustic landscapes, a new body of watercolors and plan for the continuation of a tusche lithograph series, these are the two artists - the opposing yet complementary apexes - in my sphere of artistic influence. The energy in these artist’s work is off the charts. How can I invoke that type of potential energy, defy physicality, yet define a place? Thats what I’m working with right now, and Frankenthaler’s “Lilac Sweep” is an inspiration point.


To see "Gilded Dunes, Bodega Bay in Crimson" in person or any of the other stunning work in 31 Women, please contact Suzanne Whitney-Smedt at Whitney Modern in Los Gatos to arrange a private viewing - info (at)

For the full interview with MK McGrath of MKM Art Consulting: "31 Women - An Interview with Karen Gallagher Iverson"


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