“I am endlessly interested in the tropes of still life painting,” artist Karen Lederer tells It’s Nice That. As a result of Karen’s object focused fascination, the artist has endlessly inspired us too with her paintings which present the ordinary, from pairs of Converse to bottled fizzy drinks, in a vivid style using a hyperreal colour palette.
Each of the objects, animals or references portrayed in Karen’s works are there for a carefully considered reason. For instance, a regular occurrence in her pieces is the placement of “historical artworks beside contemporary objects,” Karen explains. “In Contact, a Pablo Picasso sculpture locks eyes with a fish in a bowl,” which in turn present her painting’s aim to “capture a sense of longing for connection”.
As well as everyday or historical art references, Karen’s recent pieces also reflect the political climate she’s experiencing as an American artist. “In the current state of politics, individuals are closed off from one another in their different bubbles,” she says. A number of her paintings display this in a direct way. Take Karen’s artwork As Usual for instance, where a woman is sporting a T-shirt which reads “Women’s Rights Are Human Rights” and behind her a poster from the political art collective Bread and Puppet hangs in the upper left corner, Karen points out.
The artist’s interpretations of American politics have also led her to find a new muse: pets. The “cloistering” of different communities built the artist’s interest in pets saying “ these animals live with us, but are also separate from us,” she explains. “Sometimes they even thrive in a different habitat, like a fish bowl or turtle tank. I’ve lived with a dog for the first time in my life this past year and I can’t stop making paintings of him!”
Since we last wrote about Karen’s paintings, the artist has expanded the remit of tools she uses. Growing in detail, and more “rendered than in the past,” the artist has been using “coloured pencil in addition to marker, paint and printed stencils,” she says. Consequently, her pieces include far more pattern work, delicately depicting the bubbles at the bottom of a fish bowl or a cardigan someone is wearing, in tangible textures.
Karen’s array of paintings will be displayed in a number of exhibitions this year, offering the opportunity to see her work up close. These include a solo show of her pet paintings at Tennis Elbow in Williamsburg, Brooklyn opening 24 March, and a group show Chromalicious, at Geoffrey Young Gallery in Great Barrington, Massachusetts from 5 May.
- Yuri Suzuki on how the key design tool is always communication
- Anna Sullivan art directs a look back at the fascinating tradition of stilt walking shepherds
- Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared to debut at Sundance Film Festival
- Director Angela Stephenson documents Manila's defiance for creative freedom in the narco-state
- Friday Mixtape: Anthony Naples takes us from the party to the after party
- Yung Hua Chen’s photography is effortlessly glamorous
- Alex Gamsu Jenkins’ comics remind us of how gross we really are
- Pop culture powerhouse Bryan Rivera's 2018 in graphic design
- Don't worry, be angry: how politics and creativity collided in 2018
- Vice magazine's creative team talks us through its new and unexpectedly different redesign
- DIA channels NYC and gives Squarespace its signature kinetic treatment in brand refresh
- London Art Fair gets an abstract and textural rebrand for 2019