Bio

Karen Ghostlaw

Karen Ghostlaw is an BFA honor graduate of Pratt Institute with a concentration in Photography, Printmaking and Bookbinding. Karen was a Photography Scholarship recipient and published in "Newsweek On Campus" stating her work to be somewhere “Between Painting and Photography” which has become her life long study. Under the tutelage of William Gedney, Philip Perkis, Arthur Freed, Nina Prantis and Ann Mandelbaum, Karen studied 35mm and 4x5 large format photography, black and white, color, dye transfer, and emulsion processes including gum bichromate and platinum palladium. Karen also studied large scale printing, photo etching, photo silk screening and bookbinding handcrafted Polaroid accordion books, post-bound books and signature books with multi-layered hard covers.

In 2012, Karen expanded “Between Painting and Photography” through an in-depth examination of self-portraiture and reflectivity.  Layers of the environment with complexities of reflection and the added interest of self exploration led to many discoveries redefining Karen’s unique way of expression. This study culminated with the publication of two reflective self-portraits in "Leica Myself". This collection of self-portraits, curated by Rainer Schillings, was published in 2013 to celebrate the centennial of Leica Camera. These earlier works became the catalyst for what has become an ongoing exploration in reflection and herself. Karen’s Self-Portraits have been exhibited in the Women Street Photographers 2019, and 2020 NYC Exhibition, and the 2020 “Portraits” show at Praxis Gallery, 2021 Issue 07 Al-Tiba9 feature interview, and most recently in a narrative portrait exhibition with Artdoc Magazine, and contributing author to Fototeca Siracusana "Thinking the Future" exhibition.

Karen’s interest in the street reflections of New York City has become a primary inspiration for her work. Layers of architectural geometry, energy and movement found in the streets of Manhattan create new canvasses for painting with her camera. Self exploration is a consistent thread in Karen’s work, weaving herself into complex tapestries of urban environments, synthesizing various materials and reflectivity scenarios.  Karen’s extensive international travel has allowed her to expand the breadth of her Street Photography,  incorporating many different cities, resulting in a vast study of reflectivity and Street 

When New York was overcome by the Pandemic, Karen isolated in the Adirondack mountains of New York State.  Reflectivity, landscapes and a connection to nature inspired a fresh new look at “Between Painting and Photography.”  Having spent much of her youth in the North Country of New York, estuaries of the Adirondacks became brilliant watercolor pallets, and canvasses to create a series of new works blurring the boundaries of Painting and Photography.  All Karen’s images are single exposures,  defined through her keen abilities to use her lens and camera. A recent example of this work was featured in both the 2020 “Liquid Sky” Exhibition at Praxis Gallery and the Davis Orton Gallery Annual Show.

With the onset of the Pandemic and the closing of cities and restrictions on travel Karen found new focus, finding equilibrium between urban and rural, clarity and abstraction, color and light, and always finding her place in between those layers. Recent travel to London inspired a new wave of street photography, but also necessitated a period of quarantine and another exploration in nature and the colors of Autumn, only to be followed by a coming out for her first shoot in New York City.  Karen chooses not to see challenges, but opportunities to rediscover familiar landscapes with new ideas and vision, a unique balance between real, abstraction, and reflectivity, expanding her ongoing exploration in “Between Painting and Photography”.

Recent Shows, Commissions and Publications:

  • Editor  Pictorial-List Magazine

    Women Street Photographers Exhibition, National Museum of Anthropology 2021

    LandEscape Art Review, Anniversary Edition 2021

    Fototeca Siracusana  Thinking Future Exhibition 2021

    Davis Orton Gallery 7th Annual Group Show 2021

    Artdoc Magazine Narrative Portrait Exhibition 2021

    Armenien Art Fair February 2021

    Al-Tiba9 Magazine Issue 07, Best artists for demanding collectors limited edition publication, feature interview February 2021

    Spectaculum Magazine feature January 2021

    NYC Women Street Photographers Exhibition 2020

    Davis Orton Gallery 6th Annual Show 2020

    Women Street Photographers Exhibition, Kuala Lumpur Photo Festival – September 2020 

    Portrait Exhibition Praxis Gallery and Photographic Arts Center – 2020

    Liquid Sky Exhibit Praxis Gallery and Arts Center-2020

    Publication Quarantine Zine Issue 2 2020

    NYC Gay Hockey Association – Pride Night, Madison Square Garden – 2020

    IBSF World Cup Para Bobsled Competition – 2020

    NYC Women Street Photographers Exhibition – 2019

    Dance Documentation – Bryn Cohn + Artists, 4:00AM Kaatsbaan Performance – 2017

    Dance Documentation – Pushing Progress, Workshop Sessions – 2016

    Dance Documentation – Paige Cummings, Lady Sings the Blues Performance – 2014

    Publication “Leica Myself ” Rainer Schillings 2013

    Storm King Art Center Board of Directors Photo Essay – 2012