Karen Karnes
Three Forms, 2002
Salt-glazed stoneware
Left: 20 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches; Center: 30 1/2 x 6 1/4 inches; Right: 23 1/2 x 6 1/4 inches
Private Collection, New York
Photography: Anthony Cuñha

A Chosen Path: The Ceramic Art of Karen Karnes

January 29 – May 27, 2012

For more than 60 years Karen Karnes (1925–2016) has been at the forefront of the studio pottery movement. Over her long career, she has created some of the most iconic pottery of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. She has worked in some of the most significant cultural settings of her generation, including North Carolina’s avant-garde Black Mountain College in the 1950s.

Karnes’ artistic output is recognized for its understated, quietly poetic surfaces and sublime biomorphic forms. From her dramatic salt-glazed pottery of the 1960s and 70s, to her most recent complex joined sculptural pieces, Karnes consistently has challenged herself – with the unintentional consequence of irreversibly transforming the medium. She remains one of the medium’s most influential working potters and is a mentor to several generations of studio potters.

Peter Held, curator of ceramics at the Ceramics Research Center (CRC), shares his enthusiasm for this important exhibition. “Karnes career mirrors the burgeoning craft field in the United States starting after World War II. In the ensuing years she has produced work that is remarkable for its depth, personal voice, and consistent innovation,” Held says.

The organization and presentation of A Chosen Path: The Ceramic Art of Karen Karnes was generously funded by an Artist Exhibition grant from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, with additional support from the Ceres Trust, Friends of Contemporary Ceramics, the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design and the University of North Carolina Press, who undertook the production and distribution of the handsome exhibition catalogue. The exhibition will travel to four museums nationwide after the presentation at ASU.

More About the Exhibition

Press Room

A Chosen Path: The Ceramic Art of Karen Karnes

January 29 – May 27, 2012
Karen Karnes
Three Forms, 2002
Salt-glazed stoneware
Left: 20 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches; Center: 30 1/2 x 6 1/4 inches; Right: 23 1/2 x 6 1/4 inches
Private Collection, New York
Photography: Anthony Cuñha

For more than 60 years Karen Karnes (1925–2016) has been at the forefront of the studio pottery movement. Over her long career, she has created some of the most iconic pottery of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. She has worked in some of the most significant cultural settings of her generation, including North Carolina’s avant-garde Black Mountain College in the 1950s.

Karnes’ artistic output is recognized for its understated, quietly poetic surfaces and sublime biomorphic forms. From her dramatic salt-glazed pottery of the 1960s and 70s, to her most recent complex joined sculptural pieces, Karnes consistently has challenged herself – with the unintentional consequence of irreversibly transforming the medium. She remains one of the medium’s most influential working potters and is a mentor to several generations of studio potters.

Peter Held, curator of ceramics at the Ceramics Research Center (CRC), shares his enthusiasm for this important exhibition. “Karnes career mirrors the burgeoning craft field in the United States starting after World War II. In the ensuing years she has produced work that is remarkable for its depth, personal voice, and consistent innovation,” Held says.

The organization and presentation of A Chosen Path: The Ceramic Art of Karen Karnes was generously funded by an Artist Exhibition grant from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, with additional support from the Ceres Trust, Friends of Contemporary Ceramics, the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design and the University of North Carolina Press, who undertook the production and distribution of the handsome exhibition catalogue. The exhibition will travel to four museums nationwide after the presentation at ASU.

More About the Exhibition

Press Room

Gallery of Work

Exhibitions at RAM are made possible by:

Platinum Sponsors

The Estate of Karen Johnson Boyd
David Charak
Judith and David Flegel Fund
Ron and Judith Isaacs
Nicholas and Nancy Kurten
Racine Community Foundation logo
Windgate Foundation

Diamond Sponsors

City of Racine’s Grow Racine Grant
Osborne and Scekic Family Foundation
Ruffo Family Foundation
Ruth Arts Foundation

Gold Sponsors

Anonymous
Tom and Irene Creecy
Richard and Patricia Ehlert
Trio Foundation of St. Louis
W.T. Walker Group, Inc.
Wisconsin Arts Board

Silver Sponsors

Anonymous
Baird
Beta Diagnostic Labs
A.C. Buhler Family
Lucy G. Feller
Ben and Dawn Flegel
Jim Harris
Sharon and Tom Harty
Horizon Retail Construction, Inc.
Lise Iwon
J. Jeffers & Co.
Johnson Financial Group
Dorothy MacVicar
Jan Serr and John Shannon

Bronze Sponsors

Ellen and Joseph Albrecht
Andis Foundation
Susan Boland
Virginia Buhler
Dave’s Wine Garage
Educators Credit Union
Express Employment Professionals
Bill and Debbie Keland
Susan Manalli
Jean and Alex Mandli, Jr.
The Prairie School
Cathy Stanghellin
Twin Disc, Inc.

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