los-angeles

Karen Carson

It’s heartening when artists successfully expand their vocabularies, and the 11 pieces in this exhibition, entitled “Innocence Betrayed,” show that Karen Carson has done just that. Employing inflamed imagery, Carson has zeroed in on a sense of ironic anger more acutely than ever before. Each piece is a composite image made up of smaller pictures, arranged in a sort of dark insignia that suggests coloring book nightmares. Rendered in india ink, marker, charcoal, and pencil, with collaged elements, the works are framed in gothic, funereal wooden frames. Carson covers each image with a poison-green sheet of Plexiglas, submerging them in a murky pond of color that suggests sickness, jealousy, pollution, and decay. Paradoxically, green can also be linked colloquially to naiveté or gullibility, as in the term “greenhorn.” Though innocent, a greenhorn is also a figure of fun, a dupe. Carson makes

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