Golden Thread

a solo exhibition in the Book Room Gallery at
Abington Art Center
515 Meetinghouse Road
Jenkintown, PA 1904

January 19 – February 26, 2024

Golden Thread refers to the Taoists teaching that there is a continuity that moves through everything in the entire universe. It touches and connects everything at all times, places and dimensions, from the smallest atoms to the largest stars.


The Golden Thread series uses symmetry to expand on long-held interests in the connections between natural science and art, exploring a fascination with the mycorrhizal network – the symbiotic association between trees and fungi. I’m drawn to these networks’ mystery and boundless synergies, how they invisibly share what the other lacks– how they rescue each other. This work investigates kinship with the more-than-human world, and a dive into “Ki”, Robin Wall Kimmerer’s suggested pronoun for other-than-human. Employing a language of shapes that mimic the threadlike hyphae of mycelium, the same marks often used to illustrate galactic space, brain synapses, and other human, and non-human body systems. They are perfect symbols of the matrices that support the essential nexus of human connection.

Karen Hunter McLaughlin, Pareidolic Figure

Pareidolic Figure, indigo dye, watercolor pencil, interference watercolor, on botancial dyed paper, 21″ x 14″


Golden Thread contains work that has been paired with augmented reality (AR) using the Artivive App. The animations begin as drawings created on paper, in Adobe Illustrator, and Procreate on my iPad. They are then brought into After Effects to be animated.

The addition of the AR adds a dimension of wonder to the 2D art. It also adds yet another layer of symmetry. After My analog art is made intuitively

Karen Hunter McLaughlin, Filagree

Filagree, indigo dye, watercolor pencil, interference watercolor, on botancial dyed paper, 21″ x 14″

There are scientific studies showing that symmetry is a “prominent feature of the visual world. It has been studied as a basis for image segmentation and perceptual organization, but it also plays a role in higher level processes, such as face and object perception.” 1. Pareidolic Figure, as well as several other works in the series, was created using imagery from the lakes, trees and reflections common in the central eastern Pennsylvania mountains. Flipped to break the natural inclination of viewer perception, the mirror-like imagery induces pariedolia, the tendency of humans to see our faces and figures in the visuals of other things.



Much of this work, like the beginnings of many recent series, started at a retreat with my artist group, Artessa Alliance. My bonds with these women have contributed to considerable inspiration, education, and the drive to make art. We communed with nature, and I built the source background for almost a year’s worth of work. As I age, these types connections become vitally important— personally and artistically,

Karen Hunter McLaughlin, Shadow Connections

Shadow Connections, rust, watercolor pencil, interference watercolor, 24k goldleaf, on botancial dyed paper, with Artivive Augmented Reality, 21″ x 14.5″