Merry Karnowsky Gallery is proud to present “Carbon Rainbow,” a solo exhibition of new paintings by Laguna Beach artist Jeff Koegel. Koegel draws from a diversity of aesthetic models including Byzantine icon painting, aboriginal art, trickster lore and ikebana to reflect upon a world created by the manipulation of nature and, more importantly, the manipulated perception of our place within the scheme of nature.
While the idea of a carbon rainbow suggests a sort of dark phenomena or an apocalyptic condition, it also hints to a strange glimmer of optimism. This contradiction is what propels Koegel’s narrative of transformation, adaptation, belief and power.
In one large painting, two birdlike figures are pulling strings, seemingly at the controls of a mechanistic environment comprised of musical and medical instrumentation, animal body parts, electrical circuitry and charted information, all powered in graceful movement by Alhambra motifs. Other slightly smaller paintings feature similar totemic figures engaged in various rituals of communion or domination.
Not all of Koegel’s paintings contain figures, however. Some depict quasi-abstract chunks of wilderness painted with pulsing linear brush strokes that make them appear to be in an energized state of evolution or mutation. These works represent a lineage of primordial energy that continually emerges as the world creates itself, both naturally and culturally.
Koegel studied art and architecture at Cal Poly University, Pomona and Cal State University, Fullerton. He worked with clients such as Apple, Bayer, Coca Cola, Duracell and others out of his independent design office for 12 years. In 2001, Koegel shifted his production solely to painting. His work has shown at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, Laguna Art Museum and the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art.
At the opening reception on Saturday, April 10th, complimentary beverages will be provided by Bear Flag Wine and Honest Tea. A catalogue of the exhibition will be available.