Karen Urbanek creates wall and sculptural pieces from layered, compacted fiber. A master dyer, she draws from a range of more than 150 colors using natural materials on wild tussah silk. Each image is built fiber by fiber into an airy cloud, then saturated and compacted with sprays of water. Some elements are formed separately and added, and Urbanek may manipulate the piece to create texture and sculptural form. The resulting work is surprisingly strong and feels like a cross between leather and paper.
Urbanek's images focus on intimate experience, seeking to establish an introspective interval that reaches back in sensory menory in order to see again from a new perspective. She often works in series, exploring a subject to uncover its subtleties and small mysteries. The works are luminous with color, expressing her intent to see past the obvious to the essence.