Age & Seduction is a group of hand-worked photopolymer gravures that explore the relationship between the aging human body and natural elements. 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.
Though the photopolymer gravure process I utilize historic photographic methods, traditional printmaking techniques and cutting-edge digital technology. The gravure process is completely out-of-sync with contemporary popular photographic trends that privilege bigger, brighter, and faster. By selecting fine watercolor paper I enhance the tactile experience of each print. The velvet shadows afford detailed and sensual rendering of skin texture. Custom blending of inks highlights hands, arms, and torsos revealing a layered luminosity.
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.
2019 Workshops and other news
Karen ’s News
Cyanotypes The Drawing Studio, Tucson, AZ March 16th 9am – noon
Ambos Lados International Print Exhibitions 2018 – 2019. Horned Toad Prints and Taller Grafica Libre.
Hope to see you in Silver City at one of the Light exhibitions and come play at a workshop in Arizona or Oregon!
New Work: Flesh and Flora...Food .... in progress
The first three images are from new series: Flesh and Flora.
The next images are part of a new series titled “Flesh and Food.” Influenced by the intriguing cookbook “Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses” by Chilean writer, Isabel Allende, 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.
The prints are photogravures and gum dichromate.
Flesh and Flora 11, UI_1, A la Poupee
Food and Flesh 17
Food and Flesh - work in progress
Skin: Large Scale iPhone Images 2012- 2014
As a photographer, becoming “a woman of a certain age” has made me acutely aware of not-so-subtle, visual changes in my appearance and my body. Looking in the mirror has become a complex and not altogether pleasant experience, especially when I consider the female image in contemporary culture: the ideal woman glows with youth, smooth and hairless except for lustrous locks framing an unwrinkled face. I find few positive images of women over 50 and am instead bombarded with offers for face lifts, tummy tucks, weight-loss programs, hair removal, etc. . . . To embrace our appearance and value our bodies, must women my age turn to antidotes to "looking your age"? What of the wrinkles, scars, lumps, and folds forged by movement, suffering, accomplishment, habit, and the simple act of smiling with joy; the markers of our life experience mapped on the body?
My work intentionally brings the aging female body into view. Using an iPhone camera, I document parts of the female form typically hidden from sight. In these black-and-white, close-up photographs, the body is examined in much finer focus than is possible with the naked eye. Viewed at a large scale and devoid of context, these abstract representations defy recognition and cannot be confidently identified even as male or female, internal or external, healthy or marred. Each texture, crease, and coloration unapologetically marks the vagaries of time. Enlarged, juxtaposed, and displayed as polyptychs, these works become an intimate testament to the mysteries of the aging body.
Botanicals & Invasives: Etchings, Cyanotypes and Lumen Prints 2013-2016
Memory or Dream? Archival Ink Jet Prints 2011-2014