Philosophy and Artist’s Statement
There is dynamic tension between the natural world and human constructions. Humans use natural resources to manufacture tools, shelter, clothing, food. We create environments which we inhabit to protect ourselves from the “elements” and from predatory animals. The body of my work addresses the tension between the natural world and the manufactured world through the use of manufactured pieces juxtaposed with natural materials, sometimes manipulated into unnatural shapes. Architecture, that is to say well designed buildings, monuments and installations, have a large influence in how I develop my artistic ideas. The Golden Section and the spiral have become integral design concepts used in much of my most recent work.
I have gravitated towards the use of ceramics and metal in my sculptural pieces. These media, used in counterpoint, express the dynamic tension between the natural world and the world humans create to protect and shelter our fragile existence from the elements. This tension results in both beauty and devastation, as humans use limited, natural resources obtained from our planet to satisfy human needs for shelter, clothing, transportation, food, and amusement.
Karen has been involved with fiber arts, drawing, model building, and painting for most of her life. She lived in four countries in Europe, and in four states before the age of 14: France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Pennsylvania, Colorado, New York, and Virginia. She speaks English, French, some Italian, some Spanish and very little German. Living in Europe and attending European schools has allowed her to directly experience some of the work of the greatest artists and architecture in Europe first hand, experiences that have influenced and informed her art throughout her life.
Mixing the creative impulse with pragmatism, Karen has also learned to sew, knit, crochet and weave. Having received training to some extent in a variety of creative topics, including ceramics, rudimentary wood carving, lithography, hand drafting, has given Karen the ability to choose what mode of self expression is most appropriate for each piece of art she undertakes to accomplish. Horses and architecture inform her art, appearing in drawings and in sculptures in a variety of ways. Texture, color, power, grace, and dynamism are components of the attraction to horses and each of these creative components find their way into her work.
Karen earned her undergraduate degree in electrical engineering. Upon graduation from Drexel University, she was commissioned into the US Navy, Civil Engineer Corps. She worked as a construction project manager for a while before resigning her commission. Karen’s academic journey, however, did not end with earning a Bachelor’s of Science in Electrical Engineering. More recently, she returned to school, determined to find out if a career in architecture was the right place for her. During this second time in academia, she found that not only could she draw more than boxes, horse heads, trees, and check-mark birds in flight, but she also had some facility for using watercolors. Revisiting clay, and fiber arts, and learning how to manipulate metal and wood has lead to an increasing facility with each of these media, opening the door for more sophisticated work.
Living requires a certain amount of boldness and willingness to learn and stay flexible. As Karen learns how to handle new materials, her artistic voice will continue to grow. For now, she is content to be learning how to better manipulate metal into sculptures in juxtaposition to other media.