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Karen Guancione
Belleville, NJ
Mixed Media, Installation Art

Artwork Details
Contro il Malocchio

Handmade Paper, Linen, Beeswax, Etching, Cotton, Pins, Insect Pins & Shredded Money
12' x 15.5' x 10'

Karen Guancione received her MFA from SUNY Purchase, a BFA from Syracuse University, and studied at Hornsey College of Art in London, England.  For a decade she lived and worked as an artist in Italy and Greece, and for many years she performed Southern Italian dance and music with the company Giullari di Piazza.  She was an Artist-in-Residence at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in NYC.  She has been awarded a Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation Artists and Communities Grant and is the three time recipient of a New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship, including a 2005 Fellowship in Sculpture.  She also received a Ford Foundation Grant and a Puffin Foundation Grant.  Active in numerous community arts projects, Guancione successfully lobbied to get bills passed in Congress on behalf of artists while serving as the national president of the Graphic Artists Guild.

For the past several years, artist Karen Guancione has been creating interdisciplinary works, often integrating mixed media constructions, handmade books, sculpture using household objects, printmaking, dance elements, live music, ritual, and more recently video.  Her use of video is to focus on women’s work and ethnicity, as well as issues of identity and class, and forms of resistance that challenge injustice and inequity.  About her work, Guancione explains, “To explore the questions surrounding women’s work and the value placed on labor, I employ traditional, labor-intensive methods such as painstakingly cutting, tearing, sewing, assembling, and disassembling materials; arranging tens of thousands of singular pieces and methodically reconstructing them. This repetitive process is like those found in piecework and domestic tasks - associations I am able to bring into an art environment, shaped by the stories of individuals and communities who become participants in each project.”

Her past work, including the series of installations and performances Contro il Malocchio (Against the Evil Eye), has explored the devotional aspects of the everyday – incorporating suspended linen and flax handmade paper carefully pinned with the individual petals of deconstructed silk flowers and banquet tables covered with beeswax and hand-crocheted table cloths laden with hundreds of paper bowls bearing offerings of hair, herbs, rusted scissors, soil, and powdered ochre. Other installations have examined prostitution, domestic work, immigration, faith, the search for peace and alternatives to violence and war.

Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States and in Italy, Greece, Spain, England, and China.  Her work is also included in numerous public and private collections. She now teaches art to children and adults, curates numerous exhibitions, is an adjunct professor of art at Montclair State University and Rutgers University, and conducts workshops for the Printmaking Council of New Jersey.