This work explores the book, a rapidly declining structure. As an artist, my goal is to transform how a book functions outside of its unyielding construction and reinterpret it as new and visually meaningful. To encourage the viewer to visually engage with each form is my objective.
I begin changing the book’s structure by expanding the physical properties of the book; folding or cutting it, rendering each page largely unreadable, and each book shape-shifts into an object, not of literature or science or history any longer, but an object of art. As the meaning of each book is subjugated to this objectification process, a shifting beauty transpires, aside from any language or text held between the covers.
As the type transforms, from a recognizable symbol to a simple visual mark, it no longer references a known cue, but introduces a new, visual language. The process of accreting, accumulating, gathering and re-contextualizing through installations allows a conceptual landscape to emerge. These sculptures are created from discarded and deaccessioned books, which the viewer will recognize for their functional virtue, but which may otherwise have gone unnoticed in their traditional setting.
Karen Hawkins is an artist based in Austin, Texas. A graduate of The University of Texas, Karen has exhibited her work in Houston, Dallas and Austin, as well as internationally, with two pieces introduced in the 2015 Affordable Art Fair in Hong Kong. Her work, which varies from sculptural wall hangings to site-specific installations, can be found in private collections across the United States. She has commissioned works in public spaces, including The W Hotel in Austin, Texas, the Archer Hotel in Austin, Lumos Pharma Corporate Offices in Austin, the Museum Tower Condominiums in Dallas, and the Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. Karen was recently selected by an international selections committee to participate in the XI Edition of The International Biennial of Contemporary Art in Florence, Italy in 2017.