Thursday Salute to Originals: Creation through Subtraction

Usually when creating, we tend to think in terms of addition. Colors + materials + forms + light = manifested vision. It’s the combination and compilation of these various items that turn an idea into a physical entity. These additions are what build a design and define its identity.

It is much more difficult to think of design in terms of subtraction. We’ve been trained that you must add things together in order to create something. (After all, an idea minus nothing still equals nothing, right? You can’t bake a cake without combining all the ingredients, can you?). But artist Karin Waskiewicz has embraced the concept of subtraction and turned it into a unique way to craft her artistic vision.

Deep Blue Paint Excavating Karin Waskiewicz

“Deep Blue” Acrylic on Panel, 24×20 / Image credit: Design Milk

Using layers upon layers of poured dried paint as her substrate, Waskiewicz chips away at the surface, revealing colorful coatings of enamel beneath. Layer by layer, she discovers new hues and patterns as she literally digs deeper into the surface, generating works created INTO paint and NOT by the stroke of a paint brush.

Reflective Yellow Mound Acrylic Painting

“Reflective Mound”, Acrylic on panel, 36×24 / Image credit: Karin Waskiewicz 

“Reflective Mound” (Detail), Acrylic on panel, 36×24, detail / Image credit: Karin Waskiewicz

Almost like excavating an archaeological site revealing treasures hiding beneath, Waskiewicz’s works take shape as she progresses. More a process of discovery as opposed to the execution of a pre-calculated design, her visions slowly reveal as she painstakingly and patiently moves deeper into the surface. Not only does this subtractive technique give her works a very tactile appearance – it’s not the application of paint that gives the illusion of depth, it’s actually the physicality of these crevices creating pockets of three-dimensionality – but the randomized assemblages of colors convey an psychedelic and almost dreamlike appearance. (And we can’t help but notice that the organic movements and various tonalities within these pieces look a lot like our backlit onyx panels, too!)

Revival Chipping Away Acrylic Paint Layers

“Revival 1″ Acrylic on canvas, 25.5×20.5 / Image credit: Karin Waskiewicz 

Serving as a reminder that sometimes the best ideas emerge from nontraditional techniques and practices, we salute Waskiewicz’s artistic prose and her courage to embrace an unconventional method, proving that subtraction can actually add up to a moving masterpiece.