February 25 – April 12, 2023
Roll Up Project is pleased to present paintings by Karla Wozniak. Wozniak’s recent paintings reflect on her experiences during the pandemic, condensing her roles as mother, educator, and artist into canvases that buzz with life.
The exhibition title – Cat’s Cradle – refers to the game where players work together to make an array of patterns by pulling a loop of string taut and pinching its crossing lines. It’s a practice in transformation, and deceptively simple until the loop tangles in your fingers and the game ends. Wozniak’s compositions echo this notion – lines shift and change before the viewer, and layers are collapsed into a dense tangle of information.
The window on Harrison Street features two large paintings: Night Rainbow (2021) and Sand, Shovel, Ball (2021). In Night Rainbow, white and blue lines traverse a dark background, with trees, flowers and abstract shapes emerging from a horizon line. The horizon delineates two distinct spaces – possibly inside and outside, above ground and below ground, or seen and unseen – and the flowing lines allow unfettered access to both, dipping back and forth between two worlds. Sand, Shovel, Ball condenses the sights, sounds, and heat of the beach into a symphony of zigzagging lines, layered dots, and overlapping abstract shapes. A watchful eye at the top left views the scene, hovering over a shovel, ball, and blocks of wavy lines. A grey line crisscrosses the right side of the canvas, creating a sense of movement. Viewed together, the wandering lines in these paintings encourage the viewer to keep moving through the compositions, not resting in any spot for too long. They might also represent the presence of the artist, whose guiding hand leads us through an unfamiliar world.
In the Third Street windows, Wozniak presents twelve new paintings. She describes them as mind maps of sorts, combining imagery from her everyday life with improvisational marks. During the pandemic, her painting studio became a virtual classroom, so she shifted to creating nightly drawings to record her experiences. These drawings informed the new paintings, which she was able to complete when California College of the Arts shifted back to in-person classes. Works like Fire Lessons (2022), Grass Fire of My Heart (2022), and September Sky (2023) recall the dense, smoky air and landscapes altered by wildfire. Others, such as Sun Stroke (2023) and Shell Beach (2023), bring to mind the pleasures of nature, radiating warmth and light.
About the Artist
Karla Wozniak is a Bay Area-based artist. Wozniak received her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and her MFA from the Yale School of Art. She has shown internationally, with solo shows at such venues as the Schneider Museum in Ashland, Oregon, and the Gregory Lind Gallery in San Francisco. Wozniak has received a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship and was a SECA Finalist at the SF MOMA. She has participated in the Bronx Museum Artist in the Marketplace program; the Marie Walsh Sharpe Space Program; and received two MacDowell Colony fellowships. Her work has been featured in a number of publications, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, Houston Chronicle, Village Voice, and The Huffington Post, among others. Her work is included in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Knoxville Museum of Art permanent collections. Wozniak is an Associate Professor at California College of the Arts.
Learn more about Karla Wozniak here.