I had higher hopes for Jason Karolak’s show Rivers of the Same Mountain then were achieved even though the artist shows a clear investment in paint. To be sure, the artist handles the medium with great skill — within the darker sections of larger paintings such as Untitled (P-0807), the layers and visible flow of paint is extraordinarily seductive — but so many of the works build in completely predictable ways. Virtually every large painting begins with a dark bottom and lightens towards the top, almost inevitably, bringing the work to a level of brightness that exceeds the balance of the painting.
There’s some discussion in the press release about creating a visual force so strong the experience would bleed into other senses, particularly the auditory and the bodily. These are lofty ambitions but given the artist’s skill not wholly unattainable. Untitled (P-0815) [pictured above] comes closest to achieving this, its palette a little more restrained than other paintings. But the smaller pieces in this show undermine the larger body of work. Almost wholly unsuccessful, each of these paintings present an array of neatly arranged colors, functioning with a singular flat intensity. Needless to say, nothing my eyes saw made my ears respond nor any other part of my body.