Class of 2023 • Painting

Karen Ebbs

Karen Ebbs
National College of Art and Design (NCAD)


Graduation Year
Class of 2023


I have more questions than answers around the subjects of consciousness, the nature of our reality and the age old search for meaning. This is not so much from an existentialist-crisis position, but rather from a pure fascination and awe that we exist at all, combined with a sense of profound connection. Through making I explore how everything is connected and how all things come into being through relationships and interactions. Painting is central to my process-led practice which is positioned in the affective domain of experience. My work begins with colour - with applications of translucent, opaque and gestural layers of oil paint - and colour gives life to the forms that grow on canvas, as three-dimensional sculptural elements and as written texts. The subjective experiential phenomena of colour features in my paintings. I use a variety of materials in my installations including, oil paint, metal, mirrors and porcelain. While making work I find that I am constantly shimmying the boundaries between what has already emerged and what is as yet unknown to me - the push and pull of manifestation.A core area of my research is how perception occurs - more often than not as a best guess - and how one’s opinion of a particular reality greatly influences one’s experience of that reality. Science tells us that we are primed to see the world as we do, primed that is by all our accumulated life experiences and by our conscious and unconscious biases. What we know affects what we see!I look to current scientific developments and philosophy to gain understanding and to the writing and thinking of Bernardo Kastrup, Donald Hoffmann, Carlo Rovelli, and Eckhart Tolle to name but a few.I have an affinity with post-war, North American painting and with the Abstract Expressionism Movement. In terms of a shared visual language and use of space, I resonate with contemporary artists such as Mary Heilmann, Jessica Stockholder and Laura Owen.
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