February 2020: Karen Russo & Marie Noorani

Karen Russo is a figurative sculptor who has chosen clay as her medium for its malleability and transformative nature. Her subjects are of women from different eras and origins, exploring feelings of strength, compassion and contemplation. Karen works with paradoxical themes - youth and aging, joy and grief, instability and equilibrium – embodied in maternal archetypes. Beginning with stoneware or earthenware clay, Karen hand-builds each sculpture from coil, slabs, or from a solid mass of clay. Patterns and textures are carved and painted onto the surface. Her color palette is specific to places steeped in nature. The finished work may have layers of underglazes, clay paint, casein and wax. In her most recent work, "Luminary", Karen contemplates the Spirit of those who have traversed from this earth plane into the great mystery. They are the Navigators of the unknown and the Ancestors of transformation who illuminate hope, infinite possibilities and wonder.  

Marie Noorani is a papermaker inspired by the vague boundary between brokenness and wholeness, the uneasy tension between order and chaos, and the poetic coincidence of beauty and coarseness that characterize the human experience. “I am compelled to both create and destroy, to take apart and reassemble.My process mirrors these oppositions: it is driven by impulse but tempered by self-restraint. I create paper from natural fibers, recycled material, and small organic matter. Then, I destroy it. I spray it with ink, soak it in wax, tear it by hand, and cut it with razors. It is subjected to heat, held under weights, pierced with wires.Yet, moved by the inherent fragility and vulnerability of this medium, I compassionately and imperfectly reassemble the parts into my own ironically beautiful Frankenstein.