About the FACES Series

Interested Readers:

The "FACES Series" was inspired by the Bread and Puppet Theatre which is an annual event in Glover Vermont. I witnessed a weekend of events, in the summer of 1993. Try to imagine a puppet show of such vast scale that the final Mother Nature puppet takes a half an hour to appear, coming closer and closer from a great distance. First, the top of the head is just a bit above the horizon, then larger and larger, until a 30 foot tall puppet arrives uplifted by multitudes of puppeteers, she has arms that extend yards and yards with hands that are carried along in undulating movement as the setting sun becomes the lighting in gentle quarry that is overgrown with grass. No description does this justice.

I felt astonished and joyful at the end of the weekend. Driving home to Florida, mulling over my personal situation, I was facing a major life change, my day job was ending. I had a sudden vision of a long corridor of faces, each one different, yet similar. I am an actress so I understand theatre. I appreciate that puppetry is story telling. Puppets are characters. I had also always wanted, artistically, to blend form with painting. I would never ever paint over the natural beauty of alabaster , but , what if the form was blank, like canvas? Then it would require painting. Shazam!

I had worked in bronze and at the Bronzart Foundry . Where I learned that the labor of casting bronze is equivalent to the time it takes to sculpt a form in the first place. I would never be able to make a sculpture 7 feet tall in bronze unless I could get someone else to pay for it. . …What about paper and glue? .... What about such giving so much attention to form and detail that the work would become precious because of the time it took to make it? ... I thought maybe I could do that.

Meanwhile, a happy coincidence, I got a call from a random referral, my name came up to a fellow who was seeking local artists. I was invited to one of those idea-presentations with wine and hors d’oeuvres. The entrepreneur was looking to turn the newly rennovated Sarasota Main Plaza into an “Art Mall” he was looking to convince local artists to invest in his idea. It was an opportunity.

I had been working on the first Face "FEAR". I was experiencing giving up my day job while seriously trying to make a living, making art. I chose to tackle, unusual, never been done before, impactful, one of a kind, art. The kid in me wanted to run-away as much as I wanted to face the project. I went back and forth. Ah Ha! FEAR: fight or flight! What does fear feel like ? Look like?

My portfolio impressed the entrepreneur enough to get a prime spot in the ArtWerks show in January of 1994. I had 7 FACES ready for the 3 day art show. It was like an art fair. People came and looked, few bought. The reactions of people, to this day when people see them in scale, in 'person' it very special was very gartifying to me. In person the FACES have remarkable presence. My work attracted two gallery owners right off the bat. One on Main Street and one in SoHo NYC. After that I sold several more and gained attention.

Ahhhh life, is unpredictable. The best plans get sidelined. I had to shelve my initial goal of a series of 50 FACES in 5 years. I have done 17. Eleven sold, I own 6. I want to finish the whole 50! It has become a personal obsession to do this in my life time, while doing other things, because, we all must do other things.

I discovered in the making, that uncomfortable emotions emerged as I explored my most intimate feelings. I learned that it was therapeutic to try to define certain emotions like "ANXIETY" and "PROCRASTINATION" procrastination. I discovered that a person can be purposefully positive and that there was power in doing that. I also discovered there was some, not so small, danger in dwelling inside too much negative persepctive. I have decided that I must balance a negative FACE with a positive FACE which helps me ward off getting drawn in a negative direction. So I do them in pairs now, instead of one at a time. It's safer. Especially when you are looking into "Fear Itself"

Like any medium my sculpture in paper and paint has evolved. Only the first seven foot puppet-FACE was painted with oil paint. The patterns and colors are also an examination of the subject, each one is unique. I have played with the illusion of paint reversing or adding forms. This makes them very difficult to photograph. I chose to make them impossible to duplicate which is a terrible idea for a working artist. There is enormous money to be had in duplications. But I was not thinking about money I was obsessed by immortality. I wanted to create pieces that would potentially live beyond my life and contribute to the history of art and mankind. Some of us are absorbed with discovery and experimentation, we get bored. I have become more humble.

Not enough to give up the quest.

Karle 2/18/19. To respond - Email