Sex and chocolate was the second solo exhibition at JNG in Kansas City by artist Karen Owsley Nease in 2002. Featured were several new abstract paintings (more than 40, in fact), in separate bodies of work.
From her statement about the work:
.. lifelong interests influenced what my paintings looked like and how I would make art. Some of these interests were natural and artificial patterns, science, nature, architecture, wordplay, computers and the ethnic arts of quilting and oriental carpets.
I began using AutoCad (a computer drafting program common to architects and engineers) to make the sketches for my paintings. At the same time I had bought a quilting design program with the intent of designing quilts and then painting them. This exhibition's work owes a great deal to experimentation across these two programs. The entire image is established before the application of paint, the use of blocks of color, and borders incorporated into the final design. It also... feels very architectural in execution to me, because the composition is designed, with each layer analogous to a separate system component of a building. Each component must be completed before the next one is added. I like the idea of using a method of working from other experience. Once completed, the design is transferred by template or projection on to the canvas.
The show title Sex and Chocolate was chosen because of the potential for whimsy and a little provocation. The work is divided into three bodies. The atomic chocolate paintings, the experimental paintings and all of the others that are based on a word or phrase that I found evocative the instant I heard it ... and evoked an image. Bubble bath, cleave, Pink Champagne, human genome, angle of repose, "weapons grade chocolate," all became bases for paintings. Some of these phrases, too, were repeated often in the popular media and conversation regarding current events. As I collected the phrases and placed them together on a page, many of the titles formed a couple of loose associations, one dealing with the morality of asexual reproduction, another with the use of seductive imagery in the media.
Concurrently, in our back gallery was Assortment, an invitational exhibit of small scale new work by artists from Kansas City. Karen wanted to include artists separate from the gallery whose work she found compelling. Most were painters, they were: Marcus Cain, Jennifer Field, Steve Frink, Archie Scott Gobber, Bernie Koehrsen, Json Myers, Dr. Serious, and Davin Watne.
(Assortment image shown; additional images to be added soon for Karen Owsley Nease)
Assortment, installation view (L - , R - Marcus Cain)