Esperance 'Arts out there'

Esperance based artist Karen McClurkin's studio.
Esperance based artist Karen McClurkin's studio.

Since I graduated from Curtin Visual Arts in 2011, my arts practise has centred around the exploration of cloud studies. The type of clouds that I’m interested in are those that indicate an ominous change of conditions eg. an impending storm.  

While studying, I was influenced by Romantic artists such as John Constable, Casper David Friederich and JMW Turner and philosophers Burke and Kant who wrote about the idea of the ‘sublime’.  

Burke’s definition of the sublime describes “an experience of nature that inspires feelings of awe in the face of the power or the vastness of nature, as opposed to beauty eg. A flower”.

This theory has inspired my cloud paintings. Elevation, showing at the Cannery Arts Centre from Thursday 8 March until Friday 16 March, is an exhibition of my new body of cloud work, which has shifted dramatically from previous works.

This exhibition hints at shifting cloud conditions but is strongly grounded, in comparison to past works.  

The images have a strong emphasis on built structure with the use of perspective. Linear perspective is combined with organic shape, a much brighter, colourful palette and an emphasis on relatively small works.

My painting supports are hand built and prepared with a cooked gesso.  Gesso is a combination of rabbit-hide glue and marble dust, also known as calcium carbonate.

This is heated and applied in layers with a brush providing a surface that feels a little like egg-shell.  

The process is time consuming, but it creates a slick painting surface with archival qualities.

In June 2017, I was diagnosed with an advanced stage cancer.  As a result, I spent 6 months receiving weekly treatment and, for a large portion of this time, I was in Perth.  

During this period I had ample time to consider all aspects of my life and I feel that this had some bearing on the shift and focus of my artwork.  

I began incorporating built structures that had a strong linear perspective into my paintings and working with colour.  

Most of the works in this show were either conceived or created whilst having chemotherapy. Painting was a great outlet for me during this time in that it provided me with something creative to focus on.

On Saturday the 10th March at 1.00pm I will be giving an artist talk. The talk will explain my arts practice, artistic and theoretical influences, working methods, materials and supports.  

The exhibition opens Thursday 8th March at 5.30pm. For further information about Elevation refer to