Born in Berlin, she studied in Göttingen and Paris and eventually graduated in Literature and Philosophy at the University of Kiel. During her studies, she completed her first artistic works and subsequently started teaching painting and history of arts in Paris, Kiel, Lübeck and Hamburg. Her instructional courses at the “Hamburger Kunsthalle”, Museum of Modern Art in Hamburg are representative for her artistic and didactic longings at this time. Study visits in New York, Rome and Los Angeles gave new artistic inspirations to her and resulted in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Germany, Italy, America and China in the immediate time after. In this very productive time, Karen Thomas engaged in the German-American Collective by the “Hamburger Kunstverein: Urbanes Leben – der andere Blick” (Urban Life – New Vision).
At this crucial point for her personal artistic development in the mid 80’s, a first contentual focusing took place. She replaced city impression with landscapes and figures. Her paintings became characteristic for a neo-expressionist style and represent the very core of her early work. The “Genesis” cycle represents this intense, productive and six-year lasting period of her initial artistic striving and longing. The adjacent “Charm of the light” cycle initiated another pictorial route that merged the spiritual beliefs of a divine creation, various phenomena of light, Mediterranean culture and light of the night. Yet, this series was still essentially influenced by expressionist ideas.
Winning the UNESCO Peace Prize in 1997 “Women creators of the two seas, the Balkan and the Mediterranien Sea” remarked her ethical ambitions that were reaching beyond her sole artistic shaping. This is when ethical considerations started to influence her work and choice of appropriate themes. From 2000 on, she devoted herself to the research of the abstraction of form and color.
Consequently, she exhibited the resulting cycle “The fascination of light” at the National Museum of Castel Sant’Angelo, Rome in 2007. Five years later, she curated Oman’s project: “History and culture of a country” as artistic director. With her personal exhibition at the Franzensfeste in Bolzano: “I colori della Luce- Colori della Pace”, that was curated by Claudio Strinati, not only her late artistic work was fully developed but also the artist herself established as an Ethicist in the role of a painter. In the recent past she initiated artistic studies of materiality and plasticity. Her most recent cycle “Contemporary icons” revives this traditional genre, builds a bridge between past and today and confronts the observer with his very own ethical positions. Such her work philosophy and ethical believes have grown in the ambiance of Rome, where she lives now for more than 20 years.
Painting is my language, which I speak better than any other language. My works are carriers of messages, are ambassadors and once finished, are like children who become mature, now able to leave the nest, the house where they grew up – in this case: the artist’s studio – to bring a clear message to the world. The message is the light, is the peace, is the love. This is a strong message and an important thought that not only expresses the human desire to protect our planet, but is also capable of being realized if pursued by everyone.
No matter how important or powerful one is, what really matters is ones striving for the better. Each of us has a task, a mission: the
artist creates art of that kind and greatness, which does not have an end in itself and therefore is unlimited in reflections. Making art includes a continuous process of research and studying. But even more important is to find and give objects a sense, that enriche our perception. With my artistic work, I would like to raise awareness of all the people who look at my works, to involve them, to empathize with them, to make them feel better and especially initiate a dialog among themselves and the works that they are looking at.
If contemplated carefully, each of the works comes to life, responds to our thoughts or raises new questions. That’s how the dialog starts. That’s how art itself is a dialog. Art is dialog.
Through dialog we enhance our capacity for empathy, we developed a good feeling when understanding one another, when trusting others, when being surrounded by Art.
Such art is THE essential criteria for culture. There is no culture without art.
I colori della Luce, colori della Pace, 2015
I colori della Speranza, 2017
Mosaics for peace, Brixner 2017
The value of family, 2015
The colors of light, La Voce 2014
L’estate Romana (Renato Nicolini), 2013
Homage to Verdi (Catalogue Galleria Ca’ D’oro), 2013
Ars Creandi (Catalogue of the International exhibition “Ars creandi”), 2012
Vi sia la Luce, 2008
Il fascino della Luce 2, 2008
Conversation with Karen Thomas, Diplomatic magazine 2007
Karen Thomas, book with dvd, 2007
Oltre l’immagine, 2002
Artist’s biography Karen Thomas, 1998 Eldec – Novecento
Karen Thomas, Eldec edizioni, 1998
Annuario d’Arte Moderna Italiana, 1999
L’Arte Moderna Italiana, Mondadori
Gli Angeli di Roma di Eva Jung Jnglessis, 1999
Roma in Mostra, 1994
Annuario delle Mostre d’Arte a Roma – Comune di Roma, Assessorato alla Cultura, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Centro Ricerca Arti Visive.
2008 Prize of the German- Italian society- Artistic and cultural exchange
1998 Prize for painting- “Stelle dello Spettacolo”
1997 Peace Prize from the UNESCO- “Women creators of the the two seas, the Balkan and the Mediterranean sea”
1994 Prize for Painting from the Region of Lazio
1993 Prize of the City of Rome- For the contempary cultural and artistic development
1991 Prize of the City of Rome – Sport, Tourismen and Culture