Carol Simon’s signature abstract paintings of ink on plexiglass are eruptions of dazzlingly colorful geometric figures, biomorphic shapes, and blended color fields, which their shimmering, large-scale canvases can barely contain. It’s the kind of work that transforms whatever space it inhabits, bringing color and joy to those fortunate enough to experience this art on a regular basis.
Carol’s primary materials—alcohol-based ink, plexiglass (mounted on wood), and sometimes aluminum instead of wood—combine to produce some bursting effects that make her work really stand out. She usually paints on one side of the plexiglass and ultimately flips the sheet over, making the outward-facing side essentially a distortion—or reimagining—of the original composition. To manage how the final version will look she must continually adjust the image, flipping back and forth between each side to gauge how paint applied to the one side looks when it’s reversed. It is a meticulous, dynamic process; and nothing like painting on an opaque surface.
Because the painting is on plexiglass—and because the ink itself is relatively transparent—a second image is visible as a reflection when light strikes the piece at a certain angle. So each piece is a wholly original, inherently dynamic artwork that highlights different aspects of itself at different times of the day and from different angles or perspectives.
“You don’t ever see the same reflection when you shine light on one of my pieces, since you can never duplicate all the conditions exactly,” says Carol, “which enhances the subjective experience—with a reflection, your eye mixes colors that aren’t necessarily there physically.”
In addition to the key role it plays in the doubling effect, alcohol ink is especially well suited to a spontaneous, abstract painter who does not actually use brushes and rarely preconceives what any given piece will ultimately look like. Dripping the ink and manipulating it in other ways, using a variety of tools and techniques, Carol directs the intricacies of its chemical magic: the unusual way its colors interact; and how it conjures shapes and patterns that are intentional, unintentional. In the heat of creation, the ink has what seems like a will of its own, going off and blending where it wants to blend; but ultimately bending to Carol’s vision, with the final piece almost like a collaboration between the artist and her volatile, intoxicating(ed) colors.
On the surface, where it really counts, Carol’s work is luminous and vibrant, engulfing the viewer in its blazing color and visual immediacy. It is on the conceptual level, though, where the work’s hidden power may be found, and ensures that this art is never static as it turns in on itself and then expands outward. Like all the best art, what you see depends on where you stand.
CAROL SIMON IS A NATIVE HOUSTONIAN...
...and abstract expressionist artist. She has been creating art in different forms through out her life as a hobby. In 2011, after her daughters went off to college, she started taking painting lessons and found the immediate happiness that abstract expressionism invoked in her. She realized that being an artist was her calling and has made it her full time career ever since. She likes to experiment with different types of mediums and substrates in her work. She uses vibrant colors that bring each piece to life. Simon’s gets her inspiration for many of her pieces from the glass artist, Dale Chilhuly..
Simon has participated in a number of group exhibitions in both Texas and California. Simon is an alumna of the University of Texas in Austin where she received a BS in Advertising. In 2014-15, she taught art and art history to elementary students at City Artworks and in 2015 covered the art scene as contributing writer for the Houston Inner Looper Newspaper.
In 2016, after working with several different types of up-cycled materials in her art pieces and seeing several community art installations, she decided to lead a community wide, permanant public art project for the First Ward of Houston, using 10,000 water and soda bottles to form a colorful flower garden on a 150 ft fence on Houston Avenue and Edwards Street.
Simon has a studio at The Silos on Sawyer, Suite 207, where she creates, exhibits and sells her work.