Artlinks Featured Artists – Karen L McCarthy

Karen McCarthy in her studio

Karen L. McCarthy

Visit Karen’s website

Collage is my chosen form of art making.  I enjoy taking similar or disparate parts and melding them into something new while exploring interactions of color, light and movement.

Presently I work primarily in paper, which I print and paint on, with a variety of methods. I choose techniques which can result in a wide range of textural effects and moods, with varying degrees of transparency and depth.

After I have printed my surfaces, I gather a combination of elements which might work together in a composition. I think of these as a ‘family’ of components. There is an air of mystery at this point of the process, as I never know just what this combination of images will become. The composition stage is fascinating and engaging. After many adjustments, I glue the elements onto paper, and add drawing with colored pencil. I mount the finished collage onto panel, and it can be hung easily.

I’ve been making art for as long as I can remember, and I’ve been showing my work professionally for over 30 years. I participate in group and solo exhibitions both locally and around the U.S., from Boston to New York City, Chicago, and Portland, OR. My work is held in many private and public collections, including the Marriott Hotel, Babson College, and Meditech.

There are often references to the landscape and other natural forms in my work.  Inspiration derives from a range of influences…from the engaging details of Italian Renaissance masters’ panel paintings, to otherworldly rock formations I have encountered in the American Southwest. And there are wonderful dualities of nature and cityscape that I observe on daily walks around Arlington. I draw from this pool of varied sources. 

The ‘Layered Histories’ series are inspired by the mystery and grace of aging walls. I am enamored with patinaed, distressed and multilayered surfaces which become enriched by the passage of time. 

 This past summer I collaborated with fellow artist Laurie Bogdan to paint a transformer box in Arlington Center, part of the Arlington public art program. We so appreciate the supportive comments we got from many pedestrians, and a few cheers from passing vehicles, too! I met Laurie through being a member of Artlinks Arlington, and now we are both members of its steering committee.

I am so pleased to be living (and making art) in Arlington for the past 25 years, and I hope I can continue to be a part of this vibrant community for many years to come.

"Deliberate Wanderings #15"

Karen McCarthy with her work in "Please Touch the Art" at Mosesian Center for the Arts

"Layered Histories #4"

"Blue Moons Variations #5"

"Blue Moons Variations #5"

“Blue Moons Variations #5”

"Interplay Series #12"