Abstract black, blue, purple, and pink foliage growing from the bottom and right side with glowing moon rising in pale sky
Catalog #: 
Subject Matter: 

Medium: Ink on paper
Location: Above bench 2nd floor near N202.
Donor: Purchased with funds donated by Dale E. and Linda R. Baker.


Karen Kurka Jensen, Sumi-e Painter, Teacher, http://www.karenkurkajensen.com/#!

Chait Galleries, Karen Kurka Jensen

Moon, Abstract, Iowa, Ink

More about Karen Kurka Jensen

b. 1952

Artist Statements:

My work is largely abstract and impressionistic,
derived from hours, sometimes days, sometimes years spent out of doors in contemplation and reverie.

I don’t always go to sketch but at times
to simply drink in all of my surroundings,
to be at one with the world around me. I have always felt the power of the beauty of the earth and through my art yearn to pay back just a little of the wildness and wonder that I find. 

The world is alive, and Karen conveys life’s inner and outer beauty through her medium of natural materials: pine soot ink, rice paper, bamboo brush and grinding stone, and her adaptation of the basic Chinese sumi-e painting techniques.

Karen, a native of Minnesota, now calls Iowa home, where she lives with her husband, children, and grandchildren. She studied sumi-e from masters in the Chinese art form for over 15 years. She has exhibited and sold her paintings throughout the Midwest, and has been honored with several awards in Minnesota , Wisconsin, and Iowa.

I am a contemporary sumi-e painter reaching beyond the limits of traditional ink painting. My paintings would not generally be labeled traditional sumi-e. However, I follow the traditional sumi-e principles and philosophies.  It is a meditative process and spiritually personal.

Sumi-e is a spirit art passed down for more than 100 generations: from teacher to student, priest to disciple and artist to artist. I use the same tools as the ancients: sumi-e ink, bamboo brush and Asian paper. I've studied for years with teachers and years on my own, painting thousands of bamboo, orchids and plum blossoms, in frustration, in submission to, in pursuit of technique. I destroy and discard countless experiments. I keep just a few. 

Why, you may ask? Like sumi-e painters before me I am on a quest. Sumi-e is about expressing the character and soul of the artist through brush and ink; the painting itself, is not necessarily the goal. It is the spirit I transmit through painting: the joy and anger, the strength and courage, the passion, the fear, the fire, tranquility, serenity and balance. 

I am inspired by the world around me, my life, my loves, beliefs and ideas; the spirit of people I learn from and love. Inspiration fuels my work. I need inspiration like I need oxygen and I paint to express my soul and inspire others.