Artists' Directory

Karen Koblitz

Artist Statement

In my work I pay homage to the functional roots of ceramics while elaborating on historical and decorative elements. The influences seen in my work come from life experiences, travels and readings.

Objects of Memory (in progress), 2015

This is an ongoing work, in porcelain, with all pieces being modeled by hand. The theme of the work comes from my experience in June 2015 of packing up my mother's home as she moved into a small apartment in a retirement complex. Packing up and disposing of the hundreds of beautiful objects that my parents had collected over 62 years of marriage was a very difficult and emotional experience. I made the decision to document the "things" that defined their home from sketches and memory.

International Dialogue: Homeland, Sorrow, Cultural Diplomacy, 2015

The tear bottle can be traced to antiquity, is mentioned in the Old Testament and in Roman times was a repository for tears of mourning that were a sign of respect for the dead and the perceived importance and value of the deceased. In "Homeland" and "Sorrow" a single tear bottle has become a double necked container to hold the sorrow shared by Israelis and Palestinians over land and lives lost for the territory they both claim as theirs.

A 7th Century silver rhyton (drinking chalice) shaped as a griffin brought together two nations that for decades had no formal relations. In 2003 this silver-winged creature was seized by the United States government from a smuggler that had illegally brought it into the US. The return of this chalice to Iran soon after the election of Iran’s moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, in 2013 represented a goodwill and respectful gesture to the people of Iran and led to the negotiations of Iran’s nuclear program. My ceramic "griffin" pays homage to a work of art that played such a prominent role in diplomatic relations between the US and Iran. The cups that surround my griffin are receptacles for uranium ore and "yellow cake," and plutonium, which processed from uranium rock can be used in the production of nuclear weaponry.

Neruda Street Series (Prague), 2014

WORKS: Knob, Winged Blue, Steeple, Spiral, Base with Sphere, and Cerulean Oval

While in the Czech Republic in summer 2014 on a trip to research my family's ancestors, we stayed on Neruda Street, a steep colorful cobble stoned lane in old town Prague. The facades of the historical houses that line Neruda are well preserved and engaged my interest with the signs, reliefs and symbols that were meant to give each home its unique identity. I began to imagine these reliefs as self-standing sculptures and hence inspired this collection.

Artist's Resume

Click here to contact the artist