I recently switched from painting to photography. I make very fragile constructions just for the way they will look in the camera, I shoot them, and throw away the original work. After all of my work was lost by a storage company in California, the process feels oddly direct and liberating. I am my own agent of destruction; it’s like being the person who initiates the breakup rather than the heartbroken victim.
The objects I photograph represent internal, fictional worlds made external; intimate, elemental worlds that reveal apparent landscapes. The photos long to be touched. The temporal side of my work, the one-time arrangements of objects and light, reveal the world through shifts in perspective, focus, distortions and close observation. The viewer becomes part of those worlds, imagining the stories behind them.
I haven’t seen anything like what I make, for many reasons. Nobody has the same eyesight as me, and my shifting visual distortion creates perspective like an inner assistant, rearranging focal lengths and lighting effects at random. I’m curious about how I can recreate my monocular double vision, haloing, and distortions, as well as other people’s visual distortions. No one else could make these pictures.
I want to use glass and electronics to reach something natural and organic, to marry the digital with the handmade. Photography is very interesting to me, as there are so many opportunities for distortion between my brain and the camera sensor. This bending and distorting makes photography plastic, more like painting, which feels very natural to me. I do no fancy distorting or filtering in post processing.
There’s a necessary unresolved tension in my work — between permanence and impermanence, between object and reflection, between intention and result. There is a deep duality in every facet of what I do.
Edinboro State College, Edinboro PA 1977 – 1978
The Art Institute of Boston, Boston MA 1979 – 1981
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh PA 1984
2013 Bemis Arts Spring ’13 Show – Bemis Building, Seattle, WA
2012 Contemporary Women Artists XVI: Longevity – Saint Louis University Museum of Art
1996 Brew House Artists’ Exhibition – SPACE 101, Pittsburgh, PA
Group A: Drawing and Beyond – Gallery in the Square, Pittsburgh
Salon: Group A – Style and Substance Galley, Greensburg, PA
Group A: Boxes – Hewlett Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh
Ten Years: Karen Hyams– Sharon Arts Center, Sharon PA
1995 ig zib’ it: Group A – Pittsburgh Center for the Arts
1994 50: Group A at PCA – Pittsburgh Center for the Arts
Exhibition 280: Works on Walls – Huntington Museum of the Arts, Huntington, WVA
Postmodern Botanicals – 808 Penn Modern, Pittsburgh
Thing One, Thing Two – Millworks Gallery, Akron OH
Juried Visual Arts Exhibition – Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh
River Lore: Solo Exhibit – Luciano’s, Pittsburgh
1993 Working: Solo Exhibit – Le Pommier, Pittsburgh
Group A: Experiences from the Inner World – Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH
10x10xA – Hewlett Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University
1992 L’Assoluto Naturale – Pittsburgh Center for the Arts
The Group Aviary Show – Pittsbugh Aviary
Art Show for the Homeless – Duncan & Porter House, Pittsburgh
1991 Art Beyond – Pittsburgh Center for the Arts
1988 Drawn by Friendship Solo Exhibit – Studio Z, Pittsburgh
1985 Karen Hyams: Recent Paintings – 80 S. 15th St. Gallery, Pittsburgh
Associated Artists’ 75th Annual Exhibit – Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh Juror’s Award
“The point of view of these pieces takes the viewer into a detailed moment within this environment—almost cutting off all other senses. ….. Hyams’ work relies on materials and various elements of our world but allows us to enter into spaces that are quite unknown.”
These look great in print; if you are interested in purchasing a print of your own, contact me at karen dot hyams at gmail dot com.
I’m fixing this page up, and it will be imperfect for a little while.