COM alum constructs art around unique spaces
For Karen Brasier, any space – whether a rusted chain-link fence or a converted refrigerator – presents a potential canvas for art.
Exhibiting at venues such as the Galveston Art League and Box 13 in Houston, Brasier views each area and crafts her art to embrace it.
She created her “Fence Weavings” series by cutting strips of denim and other fabrics and entwining them through chain-link fences in circles and starbursts.
“I wanted to interact with (the places) in some way,” said Brasier. “You can kind of frame a view.”
Her love of creative spaces first launched her artistic career. With a bachelor’s degree in architecture, Brasier sought further artistic outlets.
“I started making things for my architecture studio that were more art,” said Brasier. “I became interested in sculpture and painting as a way to be more creative in a space.”
To explore her options, she enrolled in continuing education art classes at College of the Mainland from professor Mark Greenwalt.
“I appreciated getting to work with a teacher,” said Brasier. “The way the class is set up is a little more open. If you have an idea, it’s a place to figure it out.”
Working in a collaborative class with Greenwalt and other students’ offering suggestions, she developed an art portfolio. She submitted it to the San Francisco Art Institute, which accepted her to study for a Master of Fine Arts.
After returning to Texas, she exhibited in Galveston and Houston, incorporating her love of unique spaces with nontraditional artistic objects.
In “Water, Water Everywhere,” a one-night exhibit, she created art in a converted refrigerator “The Kenmore” located at the “Skydive Art Space” in Houston. Displayed above and inside “The Kenmore” her exhibit featured hanging water balloons in sculpture formations and suspended from the ceiling.
While creating beauty, she doesn’t take herself or her art too seriously.
“Of course, it ended with a water fight,” she recalled. “Someone threw a water balloon, and it was all over.”
Besides water balloons she finds artistic materials in unlikely places, including an accident scene near Box 13.
“A truck hit the building and glass shattered. I swept it up and put it in my studio,” said Brasier. “I started trying to put it together.”
Melding the shards with resin, Brasier created an iridescent box that reflects light from each of the shattered edges.
Her upcoming exhibit will incorporate her love of installation art (works created specifically for a certain space) and unusual art materials.
For “Sunday Matinee: Unlimited Viewing” at Houston Community College’s Wedge Gallery showing Sept. 8 to Oct. 10, she envisions a curtain backdrop from recycled materials for fellow artist Justin Barner’s recreation of a movie theater.
He invited her to participate in the group show after seeing her artwork “Anti-Cube,” fashioned from plastic grocery bags floating from the ceiling in jellyfish-like formation.
From recycled objects to reclaimed spaces, her art transforms the ordinary.
“I have a problem erasing the context (of art). I have a problem with white gallery space,” said Brasier. “I’m really into alternative spaces for art.”
With pieces such as “Water, Water Everywhere” and “Fence Weavings” she has demonstrated how fun that approach can be.
View more of Brasier’s art at http://karenbrasier.carbonmade.com.
To learn more about COM continuing education art classes, visit www.com.edu/ce.