Karen (born 1954) is a French-American artist. She was born in Neuilly (France) and grew up in Le Havre. Her father was chief purser of the famous “SS France”. Karen made 49 crossings of the Atlantic where she met all the “A” list stars of the time.
She completed her studies at the famous Academy Charpentier and then was counselled by the famous art dealer Daniel Cordier leading to her hugely successful first show at the Gallery Beaubourg in Paris. As a result her work is featured in the permanent exhibition at Le Centre Georges Pompidou.
Karen is fascinated by flora and fauna. Gardens and vegetation become emblematic for her, gigantic and at times grotesque. Massive organic forms are cross-pollinated with comic iconography, making for impressive paintings bursting with life and colour. There is an unbridled joy and vitality to the work, full of cartoon characters, animals and strange figures who populate her fantasy realm. These are imagined forests of the mind. Karen’s work takes in Pop art, explores the boundaries of Surrealism making a unique language full of wonder and awe. Nothing is quite what it seems as she creates a bizarre yet beautiful world.
When we look at Karen’s incredible work, we are stepping through the ‘Looking Glass’. We enter into an unknown realm where the kitsch becomes a glorious celebration. It is a trip into the unconscious, an exploration into the fantastical, a place perhaps where Jeff Koons meets Walt Disney. Karen’s work is remarkable and dense, rich like a woven tapestry, vivid and full of vitality. She plays with composition and geometric patterns, she packs in an array of motifs, making her pieces puzzling yet compelling. They are bold and brazen, they are visually mesmerising, captivating in detail and design.
The fruit and figures are all mixed together in riot of colour. There is unsurpassed energy that delights and in equal measure bemuses the viewer.
Karen’s paintings are now collected and showcased in national museums, including Le Centre George Pompidou, Paris, Les Abbatoirs, Toulouse and the Mamac, Nice and permanently in the Hotel Martinez Grand Hyatt, Cannes. Her works are in the hands of prestigious international collectors, including the former Minister Françoise Giroud and the baron Élie Robert de Rothschild.