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Karen Dana

  • 20100930082039-lies
  • 20100930082321-hopeless
  • 20100930082515-life
  • 20100930083014-alone
  • 20100930083135-dust-in-the-table
  • 20100930083233-smoke
  • 20100930083335-snowy-dust
  • 20100930083426-sex
  • 20100930083529-missing-you
  • 20100930083628-painting-without-a-hero


Birth year

Lives in
New York

Works in
New York


Hunter College, CUNY, 2011, MFA
Columbia College Chicago, 2007, Post-Bacc
ENPEG/ INBA "La Esmeralda" , México, 2006, BFA

Psychology, psychological space, family, relationships, tension, dramatic, Trauma, paintingAbstractSocialRealism, realism, landscape, abstract, figurative, conceptual


Psychological Space

When I was young, I would often spend the weekend at my grandparents’ house. On the way in, I would feel I was arriving to a very safe place, everything looked familiar and comfy. Then my parents leave and I would stay with my grandpas. When they sent me to sleep that same room was transformed into a very dark place.

I often tried to control my fears and understand the logic of the situation but I was not able to manage the feelings that would awake.

I was so scared that I ended up calling my parents and beg them to pick me up and take me home.

I describe that as one of the most amazing examples of a physiological space.

Now I can understand that all of those feelings occurred by experiencing the unknown and the familiarity of that same space. That contradictory merge alerted part of my deepest desires and darkest fears.

I have been working in that territory since I started taking art seriously. I started recalling memories of my early days, I wanted to create infantile connotations with my drawings and paintings and I looked at other artists whose work have a strong statement about childhood.

I started reading more about psychology and I began to work with some of those ideas about memory but mostly, I wanted my work to be about me. I decided to be sincere with what I do and to try to resemble my own history because that is all I truly have.

Recently I began to tie a narrative about the idea of a “Family” I am starting my own as a second attempt and I have been thinking a lot about the idealism around that social structure. I have my own idealism; I needed that in order to be able to remarry.

I am interested in creating paintings that have multiple reads. I am creating paintings so I have only the visual elements to play with. I want to use painting not only as a material but also as a charged form so that painting for me becomes a psychological practice.

The paintings I am working on now employ a disjointed narrative. They create a space full of contradictions; they evoke tension between the characters. They bring to mind thoughts about domesticity and the obscure and dramatic role that we all play in our families. I am conscious of the spectator; they will look at the work using their own background. The big problem I have is being able to tell the story of my own family, while at the same time having my family become everyone’s family.

Recent Exhibits

Karen Dana participated in these exhibits:

May, 2014 Underdonk Selects
Underdonk Projects
Feb, 2012 2011 chashama North Alumni Show
chashama 461
Jun, 2011 Temporary Antumbra Zone
Janet Kurnatowski Gallery
May, 2011 Hunter MFA Thesis Exhibition - Spring 2011
Hunter College/Times Square Gallery
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