Artist statement

Karen Wells is a visual artist whose preoccupation is with Abstract paintings that respond to interior spaces. Utilising found or remnant objects, images and experiences, her works are an investigation of architecture and her research on the physical, mental and psychological human experience of interior spaces: perception, memory, emotion and spaces for living. Some of her references are Andy Warhol’s Shadow paintings, philosophical writings of Gernot Böhme and Juhani Pallasmaa, and research on visual perception.


As well as working with two-dimensional surfaces, Wells' concept of painting includes collages, constructions and installations. She is fascinated by the painting process, and its response to material surfaces, particularly linen, paper and wood. She observes the slippages, the serendipidous, distracted, whimsical elements that emerge. The paintings seem to become a rendering of what is peripheral and outlying in sight and consciousness.


Hers are works in which both intention and acknowledging unconciousness occur. Decisions are made about what is kept and what is veiled; there is attention to the intuitive, outlying and understanding what is not quite complete. Depth (or its illusion), layers, surfaces and negative spaces in the works offer puzzles to solve.


Wells’ works examine the importance and relevance of abstract painting in the post-medium era, and posit the value of inquisitiveness, noticing and play in contemporary times that often do not allow for the notions of looking closely, musing, philosophising or reverie. Her works celebrate the human lived experience: what is finished, immersive, tasteful and fun, the discarded elements of our ordinary lives, and  the present moment before thoughts about ‘what next’ kick in.