Karen Stephens is an Australian artist practicing in the field of contemporary painting. Working predominately in the field of landscape painting, her immersion in the environment informs a sustained investigation of the outback landscape by reinventing familiar place. Karen engages compositions, spatial construction and colour, disrupting the typical wide open, horizon, sky, land perspective of landscape to concentrate on how the relationship with place can resonate within the artist to form unique translations with painting.
Reimagining the landscape both acknowledges the Western Canon and also presents a personal, contemporary visual language of experiencing place. Karen works through a naïve and expressionistic lens highlighting the beauty in the ordinary and every day through patterns, textures and form. At times, Karen focuses less on the object and more on the sensed experience of landscape by taking an object from reality and refining it into abstraction or through a naive lens, to produce an improvised felt experience.
Karen’s recent self-portraitures in landscape pay homage to the nationally significant paintings of the late Sir Sid Nolan. The continuing Bushranger paintings, which she conceives as contemporary self-portraits, disrupt associations of the gaze, and uniquely re-situate the legend of Bushranger from a female perspective.