Karen Hunter McLaughlin

Monotype Prints

Augmented Reality

Over Understory

Split

Interrupted

Artist's Biography

Karen Hunter McLaughlin is a lifelong Philadelphia artist who has worked in traditional 2-D mediums as well as steel wire sculpture. She is currently exploring the fine art of monotype, the spontaneous yet corrosive properties of rust, and animated augmented reality. Karen's work is often developed across a surface in cascading or ascending layers. Current work themes are a congruence of multilayer prints creating 2-D inhabitable virtual-vistas supported with an additional layer of augmented reality freeing the work from the confines of two dimensions.

Karen is the lead member of Artessa Alliance and directed their rebranding project in 2020 as 15 members transitioned to a new collective, expanding their mission and vision. In 2012-14 Karen worked on the large multi-venue installation "One Year" in collaboration with artists, Brenda Howell, Janice Hayes-Cha, Julie Mann and Kimberly Mehler. Working under two Leeway Foundation Art and Change Grants ('11, '13), the artists spent two years mounting several large-scale installations using hundreds of handmade wire vessels, one for every murder in Philadelphia in 2012. Both a mentoring project and art collaboration, One Year was mounted with assistance from Philadelphia anti-violence group- Mothers in Charge.

Karen has exhibited throughout the United States. Her work is held in many private collections as well a permanent collections at Einstein Medical Center Montgomery, East Norriton, PA, and Mission First Projects at Union Eagle Apartments in Bordentown New Jersey, and MBP Apartments in Philadelphia, PA. Karen's art has also been included in several publications including Philadelphia Stories and Extraordinary Gifts, Remarkable Women of the Delaware Valley.

Karen is also the founder and director of KM Digital Design, a graphic and website design and development company since 2010.

Artist's Statement

In 2017 I began studying the fine art of printmaking, gravitating towards multi-layer monotype printing. There are things I can do with monotype printing, that I could never recreate with painting or drawing. The negative and positive effects I can create aren't possible with direct application. What draws me to this type of printmaking are the ephemeral surprises and chance discoveries I find when lifting paper from plate. In 2021 I began augmenting my prints with an additional layer of virtual animation.

Traveling through layers: of time, space, attention, matter, energy- my work is a layered representation of these depths. We’re all traveling toward an ultimate destination. As the aging daughter of a mother who left early, and a father who is living a long but declining existence, my being in the world, and the art I create, is often a metaphysical examination of my journey.

Rust is an exemplification of earth, age, deterioration. Through augmentation of the work, my aim is to free the 2D elements– transcending the immovable– to create autonomous, ethereal sensibilities. I often use music as both inspiration and to aid in the work’s feelings of euphoria.

Selected Exhibitions

Find full exhibition history here

Solo
2021
Over-Understory, Cheltenham Center for the Arts, Cheltenham, PA

Kinship, High School Park, Elkins Park, PA
Augmented Reality Installation

Group
2022
Annual Juried Exhibition, Abington Art Center, Jenkintown, PA
Juror: Riley Strong

2021
Monitor & Adjust, Clay on Main, Oley, PA

Ebb & Flow, PII Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Apart:Together, Artessa Alliance at Cheltenham Center for the Arts, Cheltenham, PA

2020
Artists in the Time of Coronavirus: An Ongoing Virtual Exhibition, The Art Blog, Virtual Exhibition

American Color Print Society, On the Wall, Philadelphia Plastic Club, Virtual Exhibition

Women's Caucus for Art Philadelphia, Virtual First Friday Exhibition

Small Favors XV, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA
Juror: Leila Cartier

New Now III, InLiquid Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Weathered, Five Themes Project Exhibit, Manifest Gallery, Cincinnati, OH

Printmaking, Thinking in Reverse, Chester County Art Association Invitational, West Chester Galleries of the Chester County Art Association, West Chester, PA

Artist's Bibliography

2020
Art Watch Radio Podcast Interview with Rebecca Shultz & Guest Host Constance McBride, Artessa Alliance Reinvention, May 27, 2020

2019
"The Whitman Effect", Hunter Ghosts: Feminine Tree 1865 image included as part of Whitman at 200, Art and Democracy celebration, 2019

"Portrait of the Artist as an Entrepreneur", Interview with Melissa Tevere for Drexel University’s Close School of Entrepreneurship, Ladies Who Launch, April 18, 2019

2017
Trimble, Lynn. "Precious/Unprecious- Here’s the Best Art We Saw in Metro Phoenix in December 2017", Phoenix News Times, December 29, 2017

2014
"Extraordinary Gifts, Remarkable Women of the Delaware Valley," March 1, 2014.
Editors: Melissa Tevere, Carla Spataro, Tara S. Smith and Courtney Bambrick

2013
Heidenry, Rachel, "Collaboration is the basis for anti-violence project, One Year, at the Rotunda," The Art Blog, September 16, 2013

Dribben, Melissa, "In Art, Mothers Find Way to Deal with Losing a Child", Philadelphia Inquirer, September 7, 2013

One Year, Radio Interview, WHYY Newsworks, Interview by Yowei Shaw

2012
Rosenberg, Amy S. "Images to Soothe", Philadelphia Inquirer, September 28, 2012

“Antithetical Mutation”, drawing featured in Philadelphia Stories Magazine, Summer 2012

Honors and Awards

2021
Cheltenham Center for the Arts Print Residency

CCA 80th Annual Member Show, Cheltenham Center for the Arts, Cheltenham, PA
Print Guild Award for Bloodline

2017
CCA Print Guild Award in honor of Esther Rose Fisher for Dogwood Fall

2016
Annual Juried Exhibition, Manayunk Roxborough Art Center, Philadelphia, PA
Honorable Mention Award

2012
Philadelphia’s Mothers in Charge Peacemaker Award (with MamaCITA)

Grants

2012 - 2013
Leeway Foundation, Art and Change
Two grants: January 2012-December 2013, March 2013-December 2013

2012
HatchFund (Formerly USAProjects)
Artist Advocacy Grant

Collections

Mission First Housing Commission, Permanent Installations, 2811 West Sedgley Avenue, Philadelphia, PA

Looking Up at the Cosmos, Commissioned Collaborative Mural, Mission First Housing, Sedgely Street, Philadelphia, PA

Mission First Housing, Union Eagle Apartments, Permanent Installation, 1 Spring Street, Bordentown, NJ

Beginnings, Permanent Commissioned Installation, Einstein Medical Center Montgomery, East Norriton, PA

Collaborations

One Year, collaborative project funded by two Leeway Foundation AC grants (‘11, ‘13)

Two Installations; The Rotunda (a Philadelphia FringeArts project), Philadelphia, PA, and Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia, PA

Professional Associations

Artessa Alliance, Cooperative in the Arts
Lead Member

InLiquid
Member

Cheltenham Center for the Arts
Member

Lectures and Talks

2021
Artivive Augmented Reality Show and Tell: Juan Pablo Medina and Karen Hunter McLaughlin

Education

2017 - 2020
Cheltenham Center for the Arts, Cheltenham, PA
Multilayered Printmaking - Nicole Dul

2007
Cheltenham Center for the Arts, Cheltenham, PA
Book/Printmaking - Erin Tohill Robin

2002 - 2005
Kate Wolf Workshops, Portland Maine
Wire Tinkering - Ellen Wieske, Deputy Director Haystack Mountain School of Craft

1977 - 1981
Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Elkins Park, PA