About the Artist

Karen Hunter McLaughlin is a life-long Philadelphia artist. Her work spans two-dimensional painting, drawing and printmaking as well as three-dimensional steel wire work. Much of her work draws on masking techniques, multiple embellishment processes, and three-dimensional steel wire overlays.

Line has always been a key element of my work, no matter what the medium or style. When I discovered the beauty and obsessiveness of working in wire, it seemed natural to incorporate its properties into my more traditional work mediums. Layering, line language, and process iteration create depth and meaning in my work. Childhood memories that shift, deepen, and crystallize as we age, and the elusiveness of dreams are also key conceptual elements. Layers of paper, graphite, paint, colored pencil, and compulsively shaped steel wire, combine to create subtle optical illusions that draw the viewer towards the piece for a more intimate experience with the art.

Karen has been a member of MamaCITA, a mothers’ cooperative in the arts since 2007. She is a lead member of the group and has curated several of it’s exhibitions. 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, and working under two Leeway Foundation Art and Change Grants, the artists spent two years mounting several large-scale installations using hundreds of handmade wire vessels. Read More about the exhibit here.

Karen is also the founder and director of KM Digital Design, a graphic and website design and development company since 2000.


Selected Exhibitions

2018Annual Juried Show, Cheltenham Center for the Arts, Katherine Stanek juror, Cheltenham, PA
2017Flat Rate Box, Precious/Unprecious. Modified Arts Gallery, Phoeniz, AZ.
2017Intimate Landscapes, Semi-solo show with Julia Rix. St. John’s Creative Arts Series 2017-2018, Melrose Park, PA
2016Annual Juried Exhibition, Manayunk Roxborough Art Center, Philadelphia, PA, Honorable Mention Award
2016Simplicity, Triennial Juried Art Show, William Penn Charter School, Philadelphia, PA
2015 Re.Collection, Group Solo Show and Installation (curator), Cheltenham Center for the Arts, Cheltenham, PA
2014 Annual Juried Show, Abington Art Center, Abington, PA
2014 The Road to Here, B-Square Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
2014 Looking Up at the Cosmos, Commissioned Collaborative Mural, Mission First Housing
2014 Annual Juried Show, Richard Rosenfeld juror, Cheltenham Center for the Arts, Cheltenham, PA
2013 Beginnings-Permanent Commissioned Installation at Einstein Medical Center Montgomery, East Norriton, PA
2013 MamaCITA at the Capitol Building East Wing, State House Harrisburg, PA
2013 One Year, Collaborative Art Installation at The Rotunda (Philadelphia FringeArts), Philadelphia, PA Funded by Leeway Foundation
2013 One Year, Collaborative Art Installation at the Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia, PA Funded by Leeway Foundation
2013 Represent, Langman Gallery Building, 218 Old York Rd, Jenkintown, PA
2012 Meta-Fiber, Fiber Philadelphia, Art in City Hall, Philadelphia, PA
2012 Annual Juried Show, Abington Art Center, Abington, PA
2011 Following the Line, Art in City Hall, Philadelphia, PA
2011 The Varied and the Overlapped, Joseph R. and Paul W. Gates Gallery, Colora, Maryland
2011 Rooted, Paintings and Drawings Inspired by Nature, Kol Ami, Elkins Park, PA
2011 Landscape LOVE, Love Park Welcome Center, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, PA
2010 (W)holon, Abington Art Center, Abington, PA
2010 Women in the Arts, Abington Friends School , Abington PA
2010 Organics, Art Informed and Inspired by Nature, Les Idees Gallery, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA
2009 Green Lane Commons, Green Lane and Silverwood St., Philadelphia, PA
2008 Wilmington Arts Commission, The Louis L. Redding Building, 800 N. French St, Wilmington, DE,
2008 Montgomery County Guild of Professional Artists, The Inquirer Building, Conshohocken, PA
2008 Diversity in Community, Juried Exhibition,  St. John’s Lutheran Church, Melrose Park, PA

Professional Associations

Member, Lead Organizer– MamaCita, a mothers’ cooperative in the arts: mamacitaarts.com
Member– Cheltenham Center for the Arts

Awards and Grants

CCA Print Guild Award in honor of Esther Rose Fisher for Dogwood Fall, January 2017
Honorable MentionManyunk Roxborough Art Center, annual juried show. July 2016
Leeway Foundation
, Art and Change. Two grants: Jan, 2012-December 2013, March 2013-December 2013
HatchFund (Formerly USAProjects), artist advocacy grant, 2012
Philadelphia’s Mothers in Charge Peacemaker Award (with MamaCITA), 2012


Precious/Unprecious- Here’s the Best Art We Saw in Metro Phoenix in December 2017, Phoenix News Times by  December 29, 2017
One Year – Review – theartblog.com
One Year – In art, mothers find way to deal with losing a child, article by Melissa Dribben, Inquirer Staff Writer
One Year – Radio Interview – WHYY Newsworks interview by Yowei Shaw
Beginnings – Images to Soothe, article by Amy S. Rosenberg, Inquirer Staff Writer
Antithetical Mutation – Drawing featured in Philadelphia Stories Magazine, Summer 2012