It’s hard to put a finger on what exactly it is that Kim Carlino makes. Describing her creative style as a “deep internal/external space exploration meets topographical geometric interventionism,” her artwork sits at a crossroads between painting and drawing. Her work playfully employs shifts of scale, opticality, illusion, and disillusion of space and a nonlinear construction of time in hopes of finding equanimity in disparate elements. In other words: it’s all over the place.
And being all over the place, Carlino’s toolbox is just as overflowing as her creations themselves, working with water-based media that has high-flow capability like watercolor, ink, and high-flow acrylics. She also takes to oil-based markers, graphite, and sharpies, and even dabbles with spray paint and stencils. “I am interested in materials that have different surface qualities from matte or glossy to metallic or somewhere in between,” she explained in an interview with Jung Katz. “I work on nontraditional, paper-like surfaces such as yupo, duralar, acetate, and tyvek. My best friend is my compass and ruler collection.”
When it comes to her creative process, Carlino mostly relies on instinct and improvisation, aiming to create organic, fluid-like forms. Working on nonporous surfaces, she floats watercolor, ink and high-flow acrylic into the surface of the water and into each other to cause interactions of materials and pigment that create granulation, striated edges, and floating islands of color. As this dries and evaporates, everything settles and the form emerges.
“This is my beginning point,” she says. “I’ve created a form/situation in which to interact and riff off of which I then look for an entry point into the form to begin to assert order in the form of line, geometry, and pattern.” Describing her work as an arena in which pattern and form engage and accentuate the contradictions, opposites, and contrasts that exist in this fabricated world, the finished result is a sort of colorful mess that we find compelling without understanding why that is exactly.
Take a look for yourself: