Ecological Fiction

Ecological Fiction


Karen Anne Klein

Exhibition Date

January 25, 2019 to May 03, 2019

Description of Work

Karen Anne Klein uses images of natures to tell stories.  The birds, flowers and insects she chooses for her compositions have symbolic meanings and mythological associations.   There is always more there than meets the eye.   Drawing directly from life, from specimens found in natural history museums, Klein creates beautifully realistic works that incorporate a touch of whimsy and wonder.

This exhibition will feature Cabinets of Curiosities/Wunder-Kammer: During the Renaissance, private collections were assembled in rooms with the idea that a person could know everything that was important. Natural history, math, science, poetry - everything was displayed simultaneously. The visual impact was thrilling even when it made no real sense.

In recent times artists are revisiting the idea of these rooms in very different ways.  Klein started with a group of drawings that were to emulate a cabinet.  Then they became a real cabinet.  That cabinet was placed in a room in her house.  One cabinet inspired the construction of several more cabinets.  When the rooms were filled with cabinets and the desire to create more continued, Karen Klein became excited to design new, smaller works.

This private project has now filled two rooms of her home and are continually being revised. 

The artist does not consider anything to be permanent.  Already several of the drawings presently on the walls have replaced others that did not work well enough with the rest of the objects and images.  The great challenge is to have the rooms act as one work of art built out of multiple small components.

Karen Anne Klein holds a master’s degree from Wayne State University, Detroit and an undergraduate degree from University of Michigan.  Her work can be found in collections across the country, including the Detroit Institute of Arts, University of Michigan Art Museum, Carnegie Mellon University and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.    She has exhibited her drawings and paintings at the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History and the Chicago Botanic Gardens.