About the Artist
Karen Woodward is a mixed media artist specializing in the creation of glass sculpture. Karen lives and works in Austin, TX, where she maintains a private studio at Canopy Austin. Karen received her BA in Art History from the University of Texas and her MFA in Sculpture from Washington University in St. Louis in 2000. Prior to moving to Austin, Karen was faculty at Craft Alliance Education Center in St. Louis, MO, where she was chair of the Glass Department. Karen has been a studio art instructor for over 10 years and has taught all levels glass sculpture to both children and adults. She has served as an instructor for several studio art courses including foundry casting for bronze, centrifugal casting for jewelry, as well as 2 and 3D Design. Karen has exhibited her work in numerous venues both nationally and internationally. Her work has been featured in Corning Museum of Glass New Glass Review, the Urban Glass Art Quarterly, LAMMAGA Magazine of the Kobe Lampwork Museum, and Glasss4 Book of Lampworkers. When Karen is not in the studio or participating in art related activities, she enjoys spending time with her family and an assortment of feathered friends.
My work is a colorful exploration of the absurdities of life and self. With hot sculpted glass I create colorful, gem-like sculptures with a wide range of personality, attitude, and form. Mental states, states of being, and the experience of daily life are themes that interest me the most. Each unique sculpture is either displayed as an individual work or is exhibited within a narrative group. At the individual level, these sculptures can be examined in terms of personality, expression, and mood. While some characters appear comical and ridiculous, others appear more introspective and thoughtful. Optical properties of transparent glass aid in the magnification of encased elements. The notion of memory, thought, and mental clutter are important aspects of this work. When my work is displayed in a narrative group or installation, the pieces take on new meaning as they relate to one another. Collectively, this body of work is titled the Effigy Series.In addition to glasswork from the Effigy Series, I also create larger scale, light based portraits. This is a relatively new body of work, combining glass, collage, painting, and light. In contrast to traditional portraiture in which the artist attempts to capture the physical attributes or emotional expression of a subject, this body of work is an attempt to capture the subject’s thoughts and feelings. With the the Mind’s Eye series, the subject appears to gaze at the viewer, looking, thinking, and processing the world around them. I have always been more interested in what a portrait is thinking or feeling than how it appears through the viewer’s gaze. Similar to this series, the Meditation series explores a faceless subject’s inner thoughtscape. These subjects appear to be dissociated from the external world in a state of meditation and thought.