© Karen Kassap

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Karen Kassap

Woodbridge, Connecticut

Artist Statement

I have been working as a mixed media collage artist for more than 18 years. I enjoy this form of expression because the process of layering paint and paper becomes a part of the beauty of the completed work. The many layers required to create the work are often completely invisible to the viewer, but their existence is a mystery that holds their attention. The underlying support for my collages may be chaotic and wild, but my goal is for the final surface to to draw the viewer in with something cohesive and viscerally attractive. Technically, working in mixed media collage is very satisfying, because it requires creating the materials and then reusing them in my compositions. The process of making the papers used in my collages is a form of creative expression that often has nothing to do with the final works. Collage also leaves space for me to include painting and drawing. My works are made entirely of painted or printed papers, acrylic paint, acrylic gel medium, and sometimes found objects. My work is a personal expression of my identity as a woman, a mother, a wife and a Jew, and frequently addresses the struggle between the freedom and confinement of an idealized woman. I find inspiration in the text of psalms, daily prayers, bible stories and provervbs, especially proverb 31 - A Woman of Valor. Once it became clear that the pandemic would be a long lasting event, I knew it had to play a role in my work. These modern times felt Medieval; a medieval world that believed in monsters and demons, was mystified by science and biology and was afraid of the unknown, would direct my Covid series. There seemed to be omens everywhere, and I questioned our ability to only see them in retrospect. The works in this series became a journal-like expression of the months in quarantine. Through the use of metaphors and leitmotifs I hope to provide the audience with keys to unlock the ideas of female strength and independence, and ideas that provide strength and hope in times that try our faith.

© Karen Kassap

Karen Kassap's Portfolio

© Karen Kassap

Artist Biography

Karen Kassap is a mixed media collage artist based in Woodbridge, Connecticut. On February 23, 2021, she presented her Quarantine Series, at the Jewish Art Salon online forum: Creativity in an Uncertain Time (now available on YouTube.) This, her most recent work, is a series which expresses her personal response to the pandemic. She relies on Medieval manuscript iconography, and totemic imagery. A common theme in all her works is the exploration of female empowerment, and the dichotomy between the freedom and confinement of the idealized woman. Her work grows out of her experiences as a woman, mother, wife and a Jew. She considers the idea that duality and struggle are beautiful and interesting through She was awarded the Best Story prize for the Black Wedding, at the Milford Arts Council Show, Story of Women, in Milford Connecticut (November 2020). She was included in the All Women show with the online JMane Gallery, (Jan 2021). In June 2019, Kassap had a solo show at the BEKI synagogue gallery in New Haven, and her work was accepted in the Cultural Passages show at the Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven (2005). Kassap studied mixed media collage with her mentor Debi Pendell for many years, and she studied gum bichromate printing at the International Center for Photography in NY. She is member of the Connecticut Bar and the Pennsylvania Bar. When she is not in her studio she volunteers on the advisory board of Apostle Immigrant Services in New Haven, and works as a facilitator for the ADL Words to Action program.



© Karen Kassap

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