PROFILE:

I am a native Oregonian, born and raised in Salem. As a kid, I spent a lot of time on the central Oregon beaches, and in the Cascade Range camping, hiking and fishing. The coast and woods of Western Oregon are in my DNA.

My work relies on these childhood visuals and ideas. I live next to Deer Creek, a tributary of Tryon Creek in Portland, Oregon. This area, as well as my garden provides the subject matter for most of my work. Seedpods, decomposition and regeneration interest me and while I start out to make a good likeness of things which exemplify rot and growth, the quality of media – waxy, goopy, rough, colorful, wet, dry – creates its own sensual distraction.  I aim to create images that peak interest in both the subject and it’s making. My work is small and I use oil, encaustic wax, and other things such as crochet and fabric to create texture in my paintings.

Throughout my life I have maintained a studio practice and have exhibited work whenever the opportunity has arisen. I have participated in many exhibits and events at the Art Center, including daVinci Days, Art around Oregon, Rot: The Secret Life of Trees, and workshops for artists to learn about microbiology.

I received a BFA and an MFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn NY and worked for many years as an industrial designer and woodworker designing and making furniture. I, as well as 2 others, hold a patent for a connecting hinge used in the St. John’s Panel System, an open plan office design.

 For the last 20+ years I have been teaching and helping college art and design students launch their careers. I have also mentored many artists in their first years of Foundation Art teaching as a Department Chair of Foundation Art at the Art Institute of Portland.

Karen Clark’s Website:   

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