For several years Karen Bell has been exploring natural curiosities – dead birds, feathers, insects, reeds, twisted vines, shards of ice – as discovered and photographed during her many wanderings, or gathered and brought back to her studio where they got incorporated into her life and often into images.
Her exploration into the use of layering images using vellum is not unlike the rich density one observes when walking en plein air: there is always so much to see, but impossible to focus on it all at once.
Currently Karen is combining the images in Photoshop, printing them on a single page, flattening the perspective, while still encouraging the viewer to read beyond the surface.
Feathers, 13″ x 19″, 2013
Double Vellum, 13″x 19″, 2014
Blue and White
Inverted, 19″ x 13″, 2013
Karen Bell received her MFA/Photography from RISD. Prior to that, she studied with Lisette Model and Phillippe Halsmann at the New School, in New York City, where she lives and works. Currently, she teaches Photography at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and leads her own private workshops.
She has been awarded numerous residencies at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA), along with residencies at Yaddo and through the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, a 6 month work residency at Governors Island, NYC.
Bell’s work has been exhibited widely throughout the United States, including The Brooklyn Museum; Davis Orton Gallery, Hudson, NY; Rosenberg and Kaufman Fine Arts, A.I.R. Gallery; Ellis Island Museum of Immigration; Alliance Gallery, Narrowsburg, NY; ARTSPACE, Raleigh, NC;Southern Light Gallery, Amarillo, TX. Her photographs, hand made books and videos are in numerous public and private collections, including The Brooklyn Museum, Ellis Island Museum of Immigration, The New York Public Library, Pfizer Pharmaceutical, The Kitchen, and Akin Gump Strauss & Feld, LLP.