Kingsbridge painter calls on roots in photography


Gloria Karlson’s art is about exploration in time and space. The longtime Kingsbridge resident often applies colorful paints to black and white photos to create a reality all her own, but based, she explains, on her subjects’ reactions to the environment around them.

Her technique intentionally blurs the lines where colors intersect — giving her works an air of mystery — yet the subjects in the underlying photos are positioned to be noticed and identified.

“My work deals with these subterranean rumblings of my mind, of my psyche,” Ms. Karlson said during a recent interview at her home and studio, where the rumblings of an occasional No. 1 train were the only sounds that penetrated the quiet space.

The living room walls are neatly lined with the artist’s own colorful paintings and black-and-white photographs as well as works by her friends.

One of them, Kaleidoscope of Time, is a painting in which both old and new are present simultaneously. It depicts a young girl clothed in the same earth-toned colors as the landscape she occupies and a statue of an old man who appears to be staring at her like a voyeur. The piece evokes a contrast between generations.

Ms. Karlson’s life has been a bit of an exploration of time and space, too. She moved around a lot during her childhood, and she went to Fordham University to study psychology, not art. 

But, after graduating with high honors, she didn’t become a therapist or a social worker. Instead, she landed a job as an agent for photographers. 

Meeting with ad agency creative directors and gallery owners, toting around and promoting portfolios, gave Ms. Karlson the inspiration to pick up a camera of her own. What began as a hobby soon became a career and a way of life. 

“I carried a camera all the time, practically to bed.” Ms. Karlson recalled. “Literally I would get up, have breakfast and go walking around the city.”

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