Karen Connell states that she has always been fascinated with how people personalize their environment and personal spaces using color, natural materials and artifacts to create a sense of serenity, harmony and joy. Her work has always attempted to capture those feelings and share them with her viewers. These black and white flower studies are the current incarnation of a progression of work exploring this theme. Connell believes that flowers are integral to any positive human environment. She says, "I marvel at how just the sight of flowers can make me feel happy.”
In this series of flower studies, she has distilled the essence of how flowers affect us by emphasizing line and light and eliminating the distractions of color. “I am filled with wonder at the magical impact of light on these flowers” she muses.
Her work has often been described as “painterly” and this work, while in black and white, continues that esthetic. She printed the images on Japanese mulberry paper to further enhance the impact of the images. “This paper adds layers of texture and depth to the two-dimensional images to make them much more expressive and conveys that sensibility I am trying to achieve in my work” she comments.
Connell became interested in Photography after seeing the Aperture Monograph on Edward Weston. It had a huge impact on her and changed the way she saw everything. As she pursued learning photography, she took classes at CSU Sacramento and studied under Ralph Talbert, Miguel Blanco, Sharmon Goff and Howard Laws. She also attended many workshops, exposing herself to a variety of photographers and different photographic styles. Key among them was Morely Baer, a Master Black and White photographer in the West Coast Landscape tradition. Another key influence was Marie Cosindas, a Master of Color and Still Lifes. Cosindas’ painterly, artfully composed still lifes and portraits, made with Polaroid film, opened up a new world of color to Connell.
She has had two one person shows; The Mission Portfolio and Hand Colored Work, has participated in many group exhibits and has won various awards for her work.