Born in Dublin, Ireland, Karl Mullen now resides in Massachusetts where he works daily in his studio, the horse stall of a nineteenth-century barn. He has developed his own distinctive approach to art-making, utilizing walnut oil, raw powder pigment and a wax medium that coalesce into color-saturated, luminous images.
His ground of choice is artist-stock Arches paper, but plenty of other substrates show up in his portfolio: old book pages, sheet music, photographs and other ephemera that glow with the passage of time. Painting largely with his hands, Karl creates primitive, poetic figures that float on fields of color. At times, he applies his materials with bottles, knives and other kitchen utensils, which lends a draftsmanly quality to his work.
From a biography by poet Cassandra Cleghorn, “Karl Mullen’s palette is the larder: red wine, walnut oil and ink, Barry’s tea, pastes in silver tins, powders like exotic spices. To watch Mullen paint is to watch a weird amalgam of line chef, body-worker, bartender and day laborer, each having sworn off the traditional tools of the trade.”
Also an accomplished musician, Karl spent his early days playing folk music in Dublin kitchens and played with underground punk band Carsickness and Ploughman’s Lunch, all while developing his distinctive visual language.
These days he spends his evenings in art and song and stories.
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