Throughout her career, Karen Hollingsworth has painted a number of different series. Among her most recognizable are her Windowscapes, placing the viewer in a room where stories unfold inside and outside the window, and her Perch paintings that feature birds resting atop any variety of objects. With each new exhibition, Hollingsworth revisits her series, expanding upon and adding to her existing oeuvre. On October 19, she will present her latest paintings during her fifth solo exhibition at Shain Gallery in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“I’m revisiting a lot of the series from the past, which are the ones depicting paper bags, matches, crayons, water spigots. They’re objects I love to paint, but also paired with an animal—a bird or insect or a frog or something—so it makes them a little more interesting for the viewer,” Hollingsworth explains. She also will have a series sans animals, where matches are in their various states—fully ablaze, partially lit and with the smoke after they have burned out.
Another piece included is Pause, which is a new take on her Windowscape series. Instead of the room being brightly lit and breezy, the interior will be darker and outside is a winter scene instead of the beach. “It kind of contrasts a warm cup of coffee, a percolator with steam and the
warmth of being inside the dark room of the interior versus the stark white of the snow outside,” she explains.
Hollingsworth additionally explores the combination of different wildlife to create narratives that touch on nature and humanity’s treatment of animals. “That’s sort of what I’m obsessed with right now, putting together animals that are escaping from a bad situation,” she explains. “I do it in a way that’s not scary or threatening, but they’re all traveling at night under moons. They’re unlikely groupings of animals, and usually there is one leading.”
In Liberation, a crow perches at the edge of a red boat, a zebra rides behind the crow and atop the zebra is a duck. Together they are sailing the seas and making their way to freedom, as the title suggests. Panda Wagon, another of these works, depicts a penguin guiding the way atop the back of a zebra that is acting as a workhorse by pulling the pandas along in a red wagon. “A lot of my feelings about the way we as humans are treating our fellow animals come out in these paintings,” Hollingsworth adds.
In all, the show will have around 18 new pieces, which will be displayed through November 1.
44Liberation, oil on canvas, 36 x 36"