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Karen Peacock

Paintings and Collages

IN THE NIGHT STUDIO...the alley’s whooping teens and silent dog walkers don’t notice the garage. Untethered from the sleeping house, the building is a low-tech one-woman factory. An easel painting’s most recent layer—a Carter-era print dress—dries before receiving new offerings of beads, maps, and more paint. On a retired dining table two collages and an abstract, in various states of completion, wait to be noticed. The radio plays. Music gives way to the marking of time by the BBC World News. Csikszentmihalyi’s flow has taken over the studio so the radio is mostly unheard. Forgotten for now are the stories of the Pre-Raphaelites and Romare Bearden, Gustav Klimt’s gold, Jim Dine’s bathrobes, and Hans Memling’s sweet-faced Madonnas. All that matters is right here in this room. Another dress is cut and ripped. All parts of the garment will be used, from neck to hem. The front will inspire another life-sized portrait; the back will evoke abstracted undulating hills, or maybe sailboats. And the cuffs and partial sleeves will bring to mind the swirl of dirndls at long-ago barn dances.

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