Fairfield resident, Karl Soderlund, began painting at an early age, inspired by everyday images that made growing up in New York and Connecticut memorable to him. He became well known for his landscapes, seascapes, and portrait oil paintings, especially for his unique use of Symbolism, in combination with the “splatter art” style of painting.
Though it began as a French literary movement in the 1880s, Symbolism stems from an idea of using representational symbols to create scenes within paintings and tell the story of the subject.
Soderlund uses well known icons as his subjects. However, the real story is what is revealed within the painting. Like a puzzle, the closer you look, the more symbols you will find. For example, in his “Marilyn Monroe” painting, upon study, one will begin to notice various iconic images along with “hidden” text. The same is true of his “Lady Liberty” painting below.
With Symbolism, the emphasis is on emotions, feelings, ideas, and subjectivity rather than realism. The works are personal and express their own ideologies, particularly the belief in the artist’s power to reveal truth. This objective, combined with his splatter technique, makes Soderlund’s paintings both aesthectically beautiful and intellectually interesting to behold. By utilizing a brush, much like a conductor uses a baton to direct an orchestra, Soderlund literally splatters paint onto his canvas to create scenes of amazing detail. With his unique style and use of color, the art becomes fluid and in ways the paint appears to be dancing on the canvas, giving the art its graceful motion.
The style of splatter art came to Soderlund after being motivated by a children’s art class, where he revisited creating images with dots. When asked if he would describe his technique as loose pointillism or controlled drip, Soderlund says, “I believe this is closer to loose pointillism. I am making use of small dots of color in various shapes and sizes that together create an image. The way I apply my paint (splatter) makes the painting very loose, even blurry, but more importantly gives it life. The paint seems to be dancing with colors and gives the art a sense of motion.”
Soderlund attended The Art Students League in New York City, Yale University, and the Silvermine Guild in Connecticut. He has also studied with renowned realist painter, Daniel E. Greene, and he teaches at the Rowayton Arts Center in Norwalk, Connecticut.
His work is hanging in more than 250 public and private collections, including Interpublic Companies, Merrill Lynch, PepsiCo, Inc., and the Heisman Trophy portrait collection. His paintings have been shown in the finest galleries, as well as featured on television, in magazines, and newspapers.
In 2002, Soderlund led the introduction of the Heisman Trophy Awards on national television by painting that year’s winner.
In 2010, Soderlund had his first solo exhibit at The National Arts Club in New York City featuring his series “Iconic Obsessions.”
To view Soderlund’s work, visit our online gallery.
The Soderlund exhibit runs April 1 – 23, and his paintings are available for acquisition. All are welcome, and admission is free.
Geary Gallery is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and is located at 576 Boston Post Road, Darien, CT 06820. For more information, call (203) 655-6633.