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Ken Mabrey

Rainbow Beach, 2004, oil on canvas

Ken Mabrey’s work documents the American scene in the tradition of Bellows, Bishop, Hopper, Marsh and Sloan. Taking mundane, everyday events such as playing, driving and shopping, he translates them into joyous celebrations braced with irony and tempered with fantasy:

"My work is conceived from an automatic painting method in which I mark the canvas, the page, or the litho-stone at random. These markings stimulate my imagination into visualizing abstractions of a locale or a figure. The process then becomes a problem-solving situation. A conversation between the artist and work evolves as follows: How do I populate this space? How can I bring it to life? What is the pivotal point or image upon which this work turns? How should the light fall and how will it best support the narrative elements? Will a cast shadow create another figure? What does it imply in the story line?

After this drawing process is far enough along, the locale is established, and characters are delineated. Then that fifth wheel of color comes into play, deliberately throwing the drawing off. How do I change the scene to compensate for these color shifts? What is the proper color weight and intensity to make this work hang together?

It is a constant back and forth, check and balance of color and drawing until the piece is complete, revealing something about this strange dance we call life. I obscure to reveal. One must sort through these paintings little by little, watching out for the barbs. Enjoy!"

Ken Mabrey

Seraphin Gallery, Philadelphia, PA


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