Karen Moss ,

Artist Bio

My work has long been focused on social and environmental issues, including protection of the natural world, animal rights and economic disparity. I often approach these subjects with touches of irony and satire. My imagery comes from disturbing daily news, pop culture sources such as ads and cartoons, travels to third world countries and observations of urban street life. Drawing has always been a strong component of my art, combined more recently with mixed media. I graduated with honors from Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in painting and from Tufts University/Boston Museum School with an MFA in painting.

My teaching experiences include training welfare mothers at Wheelock College to teach in Head Start programs, along with painting and drawing instruction at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts College of Art and Design and Harvard’s Carpenter Center for Visual Arts.

My work is included in numerous private and public collections such as The Graham Gund Collection, DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Boston Public Library, The Rose Art Museum, Vassar College, Westin Hotel Corp. and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. My commissions include a public mural for the MBTA, Boston Children’s Hospital and Bank of America. I received a Blanche E Coleman Award and was a finalist for the Massachusetts Council on Arts and Humanities, The Bunting Institute Fellowship and American Pen Women.

I have exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the United States and have had one person shows at Leah Levy Gallery (San Francisco), Addison Ripley Gallery (Washington, DC), Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston), Clark University Gallery (Worcester, MA), Thomas Segal Gallery (Boston) and Kathryn Markel Gallery (New York). I am currently represented by BCB Art in Hudson, NY.


Artist Statement for ‘Life Before TV’

For many years I have been collecting paper ephemera and children’s puzzles from flea markets and antique stores. I am attracted to imagery from the forties and fifties, the period of my own childhood. Now as an adult, I am always amazed by the innocence and naiveté of these images of children, so different from the graphics used now or the ways we perceive children today. The lives of American children as seen in coloring books, rainy day activity books and puzzles from this era appear simple and wholesome. Children are often shown engaged in outdoor play such as flying kites, carrying sand pails or throwing balls. Before TV, the Internet, Game Boy and Nintendo existed, board games, books with mazes, puzzles and images to color kept kids busy when they couldn’t go outside.

In this series I select parts of old activity or coloring books and put them in a new and unexpected context. Other paintings refer to a childhood — my own — without coloring books, paint by numbers and TV. I was encouraged to draw and paint free hand and grew up with radio as the only media. My imagination was cultivated not only by illustrated children’s books but also by trips to art museums.