About Karen Starrett
Creating new imagery either from painting or manipulating old images from printed materials is a satisfying experience for me. I have kept my collection of papers for over 20 years. I also incorporated remnants of my own works on paper in these mixed media pieces. In combining a hybrid of three media: monotype prints, paint, and paper, it feels like I’m combining the past with the present. Each of these works started intuitively as I drew random linear elements and shapes on the monotype. After a while I let the monotype speak to me and tell me what to do next. Each media has it’s a unique voice and I enjoy creating harmonious imagery merging their properties.
Karen Starrett is a painter, curator, and teaching artist. She lives and works at the Jersey Shore and her studio is located at the Jersey Shore Arts Center, Ocean Grove. Starrett is a graduate of Rutgers University, and an alumnus of the School of Visual Arts.In her paintings, she seeks a connection between invisible feelings and external imagery. Starrett has said, “For a painting to be successful there has to be a synthesis of color, form, and inner vision.
Her paintings have been in solo and two-person exhibitions at The DrawingRooms, Jersey City, Johnson and Johnson Headquarters, Ocean CountyCollege, Brodsky Gallery Chauncey Conference Center, Pier Village ArtGallery, and Mattison Gallery. Her paintings have also appeared in group exhibitions throughout the NY/NJ Metropolitan area including the Monmouth Museum, Penn State University, El Barrio’s Art Space PS109, and the Carter Burden Gallery. During COVID-19 her paintings have been seen in New York City’s Jason McCoy Gallery and SHRINE online exhibitions. Her work has also appeared in numerous literary and medical journals. In 2019, Starrett curated “Art & Healing,” an exhibition at the Monmouth Museum. She has received The Monmouth County ArtsCouncil’s award for painting and a grant from The Puffin Foundation.
“As an artist I work in different mediums —painting, collage, monoprints, and assemblage. The appeal of each medium is its physicality. During the past few years I’ve been mostly painting. Moving my hand across the canvas is pure freedom. I begin each painting by drawing random shapes in yellow ochre and then wiping some of them away allowing new forms to arise by overlapping, obscuring, and combining them. Each new shape informs what comes next until what I’m painting connects with a place or event in my memory. These ‘silent’ words and the evolving color pallet draw me into a conversation with the painting. At some point the conversation is over, until it begins again in a new painting.
Exhibition highlights include one person shows at Johnson and Johnson and Educational Testing Service. I have exhibited in museums and galleries, included in private collections, published on magazine covers, catalogues, corporate calendars, and a poetry anthology.
From Rutgers University I received a B.A. in art education and studied at the School of Visual Arts. As a certified NJ art teacher and dementia practitioner, I facilitate art workshops for people with limited physical and cognitive abilities. My love of personal imagery and the use of paint, paper and mixed media as the foundation of my curriculum, is a continuation of my life as an artist.”
– – Karen Starrett
New Brunswick Art Salon 2016 Part II Watercolor and Mixed Media Exhibition
Feel free to visit Karen’s website: www.karenstarrett.com
From my earliest memory I always made things. My study of art began at Rutgers University where I received a BA in art education. The focus of my work at that time was on making narrative collages. A life changing experience impelled me to switch to painting. The first paintings were figurative and about the change that can happen to the human body. Eventually the paintings became more than a portrait of the physical body; the figures dissolving and merging with the space of the painting. In my recent work, I have shifted from a focus on the body to nature and the physical world while continuing to explore a personal imagery.
My paintings have been exhibited in solo shows at Johnson & Johnson Headquarters Gallery, New Brunswick; the Brodsky Gallery – ETS, Princeton; the Frederick Gallery, Spring Lake, the Mattison Gallery, Asbury Park; the Oyster Point Hotel, Red Bank; and at the Gallery on Grant, Deal. I have also participated in many group shows throughout the U.S.including the Noyes Museum, the Monmouth Museum, the Belskie Museum, and the Trenton State Museum.
I have been awarded grants from the Puffin Foundation, Meridian Healthcare Foundation, and the Capelli diAngeli Foundation to further my work and have received awards from the Monmouth Museum in recognition for painting and sculpture.
In addition to being a working artist, I am a certified dementia practitioner facilitating art workshops for people with age-related memory loss in adult communities and assisted living facilities. My love of personal imagery and the use of paint, paper, and mixed media as the foundation of my curriculum, is a continuation of my life as an artist.
Throughout my life, art has been the bridge connecting my inner and outer world. As a girl growing up I did not have a viable female role model. By creating imagery that grows out of personal experience, making art gives me confidence in my voice as an individual and a woman.
My work transforms images of the familiar into a space inhabited by colors, forms, and linear elements. Even though I paint intuitively, each painting inevitably tells a story about something that concerns me or something I need to adjust to. Through layering colors and lines, by scratching, adding, extracting, and incising paint, I am able to reveal my hidden stories. My paintings leave lots of room for viewer interpretations, and by exhibiting my work, I have a chance to connect with all viewers, each of us growing up and making our way to have our voices heard in a tumultuous world.
Karen Starrett graduated from Douglass College, Rutgers University, with a B.A. in Art Education. She continued her education at the School of Visual Arts, and continues to develop as an artist through participation in painting, printmaking, and encaustic workshops. As a painter and printmaker, she uses oils, acrylics, and monotype to create pieces that are connected to her personal experiences. She uses art as a vehicle and connector to her introverted and extroverted spheres. She explains how this is done in two ways;
“First, By creating imagery that grows out of personal experience, making art give me confidence in my voice as an individual and a woman. Second, layering colors and forms by scratching, adding, extracting, and incising paint, I am able to safely reveal what lie beneath the surface, a process which, while technical, allows me to reveal my hidden stories of being female.”
Through this process she is able to create genuinely expressive pieces of art. Starrett shares this process by working as a certified dementia practitioner, where she runs artistic workshops in assisted living homes.
To me, painting is a spiritual activity, a pathway to access my inner life. Through the action of painting, I experience my spiritual “mood”.
My artwork is created on 400 lb Artistco paper, which I nail onto the wall of my studio. The stability of the surface frees me to exert pressure and scrape, knowing the surface is secure. After sizing the paper, I then coat it with an wax formula. The process is as follows: I heat the wax formula and quickly brush it on the paper, then quickly and lightly scrape it. At this point, I am totally en-gaged in the process of painting. As I move the paint across the surface, the shapes intuitively unfold in spontaneous gestures. I paint, erase, draw, repaint, and erase until the mood of the painting connects.
I re-enter the painting with the same spirit I started with, now integrating line/ form/color/texture/composition. My images are rendered by combining the oil paint mixed with a cold wax. The combination of materials allows me to move my images on the surface, lend a texture and luminosity, incise the paint, revealing the undercoat and leaving my mark. Working in this way reflects the layering of my inner and outer life.
Postcards from the Edge, Luhring Augustine Gallery, NYC
Unusual Art, Belskie Museum, Closter, NJ
Downstair Art Gallery, Carter Burden Center, NYC (Juried Show)
Karent Starrett: Current Paintings (Solo Exhibition), Oyster Point Hotel, Red Bank, NJ
Artist Represented by the Frederick Gallery, Spring Lake, NJ
34th Annual Juried Art Exhibition, Monmouth Museum, Lincroft, NJ
26th Annual NJ State-Wide Jury Competition (Won Best in Show), Art Alliance, Red Bank, NJ
Backlash, Soho20 Gallery, NYC
October, The Guild for Creative Art, Shrewsbury, NJ
A Light in the Tunnel, Overlook Hospital, Summit, NJ
Ev(e)olution, Riverside Branch NYC Library, NYC
Les Femmes Artistes Vernissage, Armory Art Center, West Palm Beach, FL
11th Annual All-Media Juried Online International Art Exhibition, Upstream People Gallery, Omaha, NE
We Can Do It, Multi-media exhibit, Manalapan, NJ
Solo Exhibition, Mattison Gellery, Asbury Park, NJ
Beyond the Surface: Intentions and Inspirations, Pier Village Gallery, Long Branch, NJ