Karen Hackenberg: "The tenuous boundary between living nature and human encroachment is the primary unifying theme in my work. The dislocated, discarded, mass-produced objects found littering the edges, cracks, and seams of our natural world provide evidence of our collective post-purchase consumer amnesia, the forgetfulness that erases our culpability.
"Local beach-found flotsam, PETE water bottles, plastic toy animals and product packages are but a few of the found items that I use as subject and medium in my work. Painting traditionally with oil and gouache, I lovingly and meticulously craft repeated images of traditionally ugly beach flotsam, thus creating provocative juxtapositions of form and idea."
By Karen Hackenberg
Seattle: Paper Hammer, 2013. Edition of 20.
11.25" x 9.5"; 32 pages. Endpapers and pastedowns hand silkscreened by Paper Hammer with a water design derived from one Hackenberg's photos. Designed by Ed Marquand and Ryan Polich. Typeset in Joanna. Twelve tipped in color images of photo paintings by Hackenberg. Cloth-covered boards with embossed titling on front board. Image of "Stranded Vessel" inset on front cover. Signed by Hackenberg on title page. Numbered on the colophon.
Watershed grew out of Hackenberg's photorealist series by the same name. The series grew from Hackenberg’s walks along Discovery Bay near her home in Port Townsend, Washington. The book includes an introductory essay "On the Beach: Karen Hackenberg's Post-Pop Paintings with Green Heart" by Jake Seniuk, curator and artist from Washington. An essay "Dark Witness" by Hackenberg is also included.
Karen Hackenberg: "The paintings, based on my photographs, present the beach trash as monolithic in the seascape and provide a visual metaphor that hints at the magnitude of ocean pollution. Striving for a light-hearted touch while holding onto a subversive tone towards the problem of habitat destruction, I present a tongue-in-cheek taxonomy of our new synthetic post-consumer 'creatures of the sea' that now rise to take the place of native marine species. By lovingly and meticulously crafting 'beautiful' images of conventionally 'ugly' beach cast-offs, I hope to create provocative juxtapositions of form and idea that give dark witness to a looming global disaster.”
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