Karl Zuehlke



Acrylic on masonite; 12”x 11 3/4”

Valley and plow—patterns of nature and humanity—occupy the furrow of the visible world. That narrow strip is life. The white spaces above and below are birth and death, tabula rasa. Or, at least that is one way I have been thinking about this piece. I was also thinking of the “Plough” riddle from The Book of Exeter. A plow is quite the metaphorical thing. I think that is what inspired me to paint one. It may seem archaic now. But some 8000 years ago, a plow was strange and new. It allowed dangerous, revolutionary ideas to happen. Ideas like living in one place and writing things down.



Acrylic on masonite; 12”x 11 7/8”

There is a void between five vestigial trees. Perhaps this is the aftermath of wildfire. Perhaps acid rain. Perhaps blight. Such a void cannot stay void. The imagination fills it. The wind. Somewhere beneath the trees there is ground. Something green creeps upward. In my paintings, I am often looking for traces of humans in landscapes. That may be part of this painting. But I also think my inspiration is looking for traces of nature. Or survival.

Zuehlke encourages people to interpret my paintings for themselves. If they look with their own eye, they will see something he would not have, or happen upon that kind of sight that interprets and does not need words.

Vivi Niya Gao

Karl Zuehlke is an artist, writer, and translator. His artwork has recently appeared in Cream City Review, The Penn Review, The Adroit Journal, Stonecrop, The Emerson Review, After Happy Hour, Owen Wister Review, Tint, Camas, and New Plains Review.