Under My Skin: Khat Karim

Last Friday at the Urban Gallery, we got under Khat Karim’s skin. The self-taught painter from Milton, Ontario had her opening reception for her first gallery showing, UNDER MY SKIN, showcasing abstract paintings rich with raw emotion.

“I don’t use brushes, I prefer to use my hands,” explains Karim, on her creative process. “I don’t want to have any control over the paint, so I turn on the radio loudly, close my eyes, and throw handfuls of paint at the canvas, and just go from there.” She goes on to say that she prefers latex paint for the same reason, as the fluidity of the medium truly allows her work to take on a mind of its own.

Break Through

As a talented photographer, Karim had been able to capture emotion on film, but it wasn’t until 2006 that she began experimenting with abstract painting as her outlet of choice. Besides allowing her hands to do a majority of the work, she drips, layers, and splashes the colours to create an intricate, swirling snapshot of her emotion at the time.

“I create and then I step back and look at it,” she said. “And if I don’t like it yet, I keep layering it and playing around with the paint until I am pleased with the message it relays to the audience.”

Her work is always done in the present, and not a reflection of past emotions. She described it as a type of explosion, when she is so full, she cannot hold it inside any longer and it just pours into these beautiful creations.

Head Game

I don’t paint to recreate a moment from the past.  I paint to create a moment from the present. My goal is to delve deep within myself to draw from a place of vulnerability – a place of unfamiliar territory, to bring about emotional freedom.

Visit the Urban Gallery at 400 Queen Street East from now until June 27th, 2015 to view Khat Karim’s collection.

Photography courtesy of Urban Gallery and Khat Karim, 2015.