Traveling through layers (of time, space, attention, matter, and energy), my work is a layered manifestation of metaphysical depth. Rust– an exemplification of earth, age, and deterioration– is often used in my work as an agitator medium. Its beautiful blemish creates a perfect base for further investigation.
Recent work explores my fascination with the mycorrhizal network – the symbiotic association between green plants and fungus. I’m drawn to the boundless connections between trees and fungi, how they invisibly share what the other lacks– how they rescue each other. This work is an investigation of kinship with the more than human world, and a dive into “Ki”, Robin Wall Kimmerer’s suggested pronoun for other-than-human. A language of shapes that mimic nature; the bramble of wild blackberry, the fuzzy explosion of a jewelweed seedpod, the threadlike hyphae of mycelium, are used as directional arrowheads moving and connecting geographical space and concepts of time.
Through augmentation of some of my work, I aim to free elements, transcending the immovable properties of 2D art. In creating a sensory experience to the work, my intention is to spark awe and wonder at the beauties and mysteries of nature. All augmented reality (AR) is created and viewed with the freely distributed Artivive App.
Karen Hunter McLaughlin is a lifelong Philadelphia artist who has worked in traditional 2-D mediums as well as steel wire sculpture, and digital new media. She is currently exploring the fine art of monotype and the spontaneous, corrosive properties of rust. Her work is often developed across a surface in cascading or ascending layers that represent movement, bespeaking the passage of time. Karen introduced new media work in augmented reality during a six month artist residency at Cheltenham Center for the Arts in 2021. This new media work allows her to add an another dimension off the page, while finally integrating her longtime digital and analog mediums.
Karen has been a member of Artessa Alliance, a women’s artist cooperative since 2007. She has been a lead member of the group since 2016 and has curated several of the group’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. 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. Both a mentoring project and art collaboration, One Year was mounted with assistance from Philadelphia anti-violence group- Mothers in Charge.
She has exhibited extensively in the Philadelphia tri-state area, and throughout the United States. Her work is held in many private collections as well as in 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 the founder and director of KM Digital Design, a graphic and website design and development company since 2010.
2023Interconnection, a reflection on artistic relationships with the more-than-human world, Jan-Feb, Awbury Arboretum, Philadelphia, PA
2022Group Exhibition, an exploration of destruction and rebirth, Juror Leah Appleton, OCJAC Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
2022Annual Juried Exhibition – Split, Juror Riley Strong, Abington Art Center, Abington, PA
2021Over-Understory, Solo Exhibit in support of a Cheltenham Center for the Arts Print Residency, Cheltenham PA
2021Kinship, Augmented Reality installation, High School Park, Elkins Park, PA
2021Monitor & Adjust, Clay on Main, 313 Main St. Oley PA
2021Ebb & Flow, PII Gallery, 242 Race Street Philadelphia, PA 19106
2021Apart:Together, Artessa Alliance Group Show at Cheltenham Center for the Arts, Deeper Look
2020Artists in the Time of Corona, An Ongoing Virtual Exhibition, Part 24, The Art Blog
2020American Color Print Society, On the Wall. Virtual Exhibit, Philadelphia Plastic Club
2020Women’s Caucus for Art Philadelphia, Virtual First Friday Exhibition
2020Small Favors XV, The Clay Studio, Juror Leila Cartier 139 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
2020New Now III, Inliquid Gallery, 1400 N. American St., Philadelphia, PA 19122
2020Weathered, Five Themes Project Exhibit, Manifest Gallery, 2727 Woodburn Avenue, Cincinnati, OH
2020Printmaking, Thinking in Reverse- Chester County Art Association invitational, West Chester Galleries of the Chester County Art Association, West Chester, PA
2019Print Explosion– American Color Print Society, Cheltenham Center for the Arts, Cheltenham, PA
2019Marginalized– MCCC Fine Art Center, 340 Dekalb Pike, Blue Bell, PA, AND the Drexel Pearlman Building, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
2019Art Et Al– DaVinci Art Alliance, 704 Catharine St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
2019Visual Democracy– Art In City Hall Gallery, 116 City Hall, Philadelphia, PA
2019Process Biennial Exhibit– Cheltenham Center for the Arts, Cheltenham, PA
2018Art on Paper– Site:Brooklyn Gallery, 165 7th Street, Brooklyn, New York
2018Summer MamaCITA Exhibit- D’Arrigo Family Gallery, Hafter Student Community Center, Salus University, Elkins Park, PA
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, two person 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
2016Mission First Housing- Union Eagle Apartments – Permanent Installation, 1 Spring Street, Bordentown, NJ
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
2014 Mission First Housing Commission– Permanent Installations, 2811 West Sedgley Avenue, Philadelphia, 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, two person show, 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 Creative Arts Series 2008, Melrose Park, PA
1977-1981- Tyler School of Art, Temple University
2002, 2005- Wire Tinkering at Wolf Workshops, Portand, ME with Ellen Wieske, Asst. Director, Haystack Mountain School of Craft
2007- Book/Printmaking- Erin Tohill Robin- Cheltenham Arts Center
2017-2020- Multilayer Printmaking with Nicole Dul, Cheltenham Center for the Arts
Cheltenham Center for the Arts- Member
Artessa Alliance, Cooperative in the Arts: artessaalliance.org
Awards and Grants
Cheltenham Center for the Arts Print Residency, January-September, 2021
CCA 80th Annual Member Show, Print Guild Award for Bloodline, January 2021
CCA Print Guild Award in honor of Esther Rose Fisher for Dogwood Fall, January 2017
Honorable Mention– Manyunk 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
Art Watch Radio Podcast Interview with Rebecca Shultz & Guest Host Constance McBride- Artessa Alliance Reinvention, May 27, 2020
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- Ladies Who Launch, Interview with Melissa Tevere for Drexel University’s Close School of Entrepreneurship, April 18, 2019
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
Extraordinary Gifts, Remarkable Women of the Delaware Valley . Edited by Melissa Tevere, Carla Spataro, Tara S. Smith and Courtney Bambrick. 2014.
Antithetical Mutation – Drawing featured in Philadelphia Stories Magazine, Summer 2012