Karen Wade grew up in Cornwall in the far west of England, 'where the land meets the sea'. The art traditions of the Cornish Modernist movement became the starting point for her own work, and one that she would return to again and again.
In the words of the artist: “There is a Cornish language of shape – the recognizable boat, the circle, the off-kilter and immensely satisfying rectangular shapes, with a deep inference to rock and sea. When I moved to London, I didn’t have the landscapes but I had galleries to visit. I looked back in my mind to the time I modeled for the artist Rose Hilton, contemplating Roger Hilton’s work on the walls and inspired by stories of Rose’s time evolving as a confident, beautiful woman and artist. This was my legacy: the rebellious line made beautiful by the deft hand of Roger, the colors of Patrick Heron’s paintings, and the balance of Barbara Hepworth’s sculptures."
After moving to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Karen created new work inspired by the colors of the big skies of the mountains and plains. The soft pink blush of the evening light reflected on the snow and the clouds motivates her choice of colors.
Her work has also taken a surprising new direction. “I have always been drawn to the experimental jazz sounds from the 1950s and 1960s. Mid-century modern jazz became my background music in the studio. My language of shape became fluent and musical, reminiscent of the jazz posters and album covers from that time, but with the chaotic touch of the present. A sprinkling of Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, Brice Marden and others, and a sense of place politically. These works signal a change for me. Where once the starting point was through my eyes, now sound is also shaping my work.”
Karen recently moved back to England on the south coast of Devon.