Karen Hymer was born in Tucson, Arizona and has spent most of her life in the Sonoran desert. She earned her BFA from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Tufts University, Medford and her MA and MFA in Fine Art Photography from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. Hymer actively exhibits her work both nationally and internationally. Her work is in several public collections, including the Center for Creative Photography and the Polaroid International Collection. In May, 2018, Dark Spring Press released the first book of her work.
Hymer’s experience and technical interests are wide-ranging. Although “trained” as a photographer and educator, her approach to image making explores the blending of photosensitive materials, digital media, printmaking and encaustics.
In addition to working as a fine art photographer, Hymer taught photography for over 25 years at Pima Community College in Tucson and currently offers workshops and private sessions in Photopolymer Gravure printing and alternative photographic processes. She is the owner and director of Light Art Space in Silver City, New Mexico.
Hymer’s most recent work, Age & Seduction is a group of hand-worked photopolymer gravures that explore the relationship between the aging human body and natural elements. Hymer states “I grew up in the desert collecting dead animals, dried plants and rocks. This landscape has inspired me to seek relationships between the transformation of my own aging body and the processes of decay in the natural world.
I have also been influenced by the cookbook Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses by Isabel Allende. Some of my images pair the body with foods believed to be aphrodisiacs. Allende states that food, like eroticism starts with the eyes. My eyes are drawn to fruits and vegetables past their prime and to bodies that display the evidence of age. I seek to show aging as a natural yet mysterious process.”
These images mark the passage of time, contemplating the overlooked and undervalued vestiges of life. There is a tension imbued in the forms that brush up against each other—needles press skin, torsos hide behind branches, and fruit ages like flesh. Often metaphorical, these pictures are performances of self-reflection, pushing the limits of seeing the self, and encouraging the viewer to confront an uncomfortable beauty.