Karst and Gorse is an artist run curatorial space for contemporary art located in the Hudson Valley. The gallery has a passion for contemporary Romanticism, as it seeks to outline a Utopic aesthetic through the construction of an exhibition schedule referred to as “The Church of the Braveface.” This church belongs to artists who remain longing and in pursuit of the unfinished project that is Romanticism and Utopia, hedged with the acute understanding of contemporary dilemmas, the collapsing anthropocene, and political and individual strife.
The gallery takes on the name of two ecological occurrences. Karst is the weathered stone, the worn away object of oceans meeting and creating internal spaces between cliffs and islands. It represents the object-oriented aesthetic of the gallery-speculative, weathered, and incredibly affective. Gorse is a wild plant. Although it appears almost decorative, a wall of bright yellow flowers, it takes over beaches, backyards and newly logged timberlands, quickly spreading if left unchecked. It’s thorns make it impassible and its monocultures embed themselves into the biosphere. The plant’s dry branches make prime kindling, and they have been known to be the source of wildfires. Gorse represents the image and painting oriented aesthetic of the gallery-seductive, wild, and romantic.
M. Karst is an artist working with objects in the Hudson Valley. His work is a somber reflection on what is coming around the bend. With an immutable belief in materials and the disassociated concept of capitalistic work within sculpture, Karst believes in what can be touched, held, carried, and shaped and the infinite presence of things in the face of hyper objects. He responds to the uncertain future of post-capitalism and the anthropocene with a precariate sculptural sensibility, moving between shelves of the everyday sublime as he works to create a heightened aesthetic state from the everyday.
S. Gorse is a painter in the Hudson Valley interested in contemporary manifestations of Romanticism and the unintentionally sublime leftovers of post-internet culture. She is interested in the unfinished project that is utopia and the spirituality that painting has to offer. She is a believer in phenomenology, of experience, of sensation. Born out of the lineage of Hilma af Klint and an iconoclast of the Hudson Valley School, she believes that paintings offer a necessary rejection of Modernity. Gorse is a moving paradise. She carries utopia on her back as she builds artistic communities built on belief and generosity.
Church of the Brave Face
Welcome all to the Church of the Brave Face. Father Karst and Mother Gorse lead us in our monthly rituals as they assemble a congregation of tired believers, weary optimists, and enduring Romantics. Blind optimists can take their faith down the road and indulge themselves in affect alone, build temples of false narratives and mythologize their own identity. Cynical ironists can move on too. Scowling at the headlines and despairing at the present condition of contemporary art, their meta-critiques and insincere gestures can commune in the infinite booths of the spectacular market.
Father Karst stands with his back to the congregation, staring into the deep abyss within the holy tabernacle. He is the savage detective, his stare into the dim futures we are too afraid to look at is unblinking and unwavering. The viscous hyperobjects seek to pull him in but he is like the objects he makes-steadfast.
Mother Gorse faces the congregation and leads us all in song. Songs so beautiful and piercing it makes the congregation almost forget the abyss beyond Father Karst. She is the Brave Face. Filled with the knowledge of what is behind her while keeping the universe continuing on time, she seeks out new congregants to seek the truth of the grim future and adopt the Brave Face also.
Samuel Beckett built the altar himself. Werner Herzog leads the children in Sunday School. Albert Oehlen is Jimmy Swaggart. The church is built with the hands of those who see the future and hold unwavering belief in their art.
This is a church of true believers, of belief, of day laborers and time card punchers. It is a church of precarious moves on shaky ground that are made with steady hands.
The world must be made romantic-Novalis