Photo: Spike Mafford

Karen LaMonte

Floating World, Seattle

October 15 – 21, 2013

The Karen LaMonte | Floating World Seattle exhibition was installed at AXIS Pioneer Square, in a historic 122 year old brick building, the former site of the Elliot Bay Bookstore from October 15th to 21st, 2013. AXIS Pioneer Square 308 1st Avenue S, Seattle WA.

Born in 1967, Karen LaMonte is a well recognized contemporary artist with her early roots associated with the medium of glass. Floating World is the culmination of six years of studio work and further research, that began in 2007 with a seven month research fellowship in Kyoto, sponsored by the Japan-US Friendship commission. The artists initial inquiry/study of the kimono quickly broadened to an ongoing investigation into Japanese art and aesthetics.

"The kimono, as a vessel for an erased body, reflects a cultural affinity for ephemerality and emptiness, expressed as mono no aware, or "the pathos of things." This attentiveness to impermanence precipitates a melancholic sense of beauty, which I had sought to capture in my previous work. Indeed, despite the radical differences in cultures, I was struck by the kindred sensibility between the kimono and my disembodied European dresses. Because beauty is ephemeral, it is exquisitely somber – not a celebration of self or individuality, but an acknowledgment of the self's limits. For me, to represent it is to take comfort in the essential and eternal." *

The project continued to her home in Prague, Czech Republic, and on to the Netherlands, Denmark, and most recently Pietro Santo, Italy. This was necessitated by LaMonte’s choice of materials not previously associated with her work – ceramic, bronze, and cast iron, in addition to her recognizable monumental cast glass works. The installation includes works in all media.

Karen LaMonte’s work is included in the collections of Crystal Bridges Museum of Art, Boston MFA, Renwick at the Smithsonian, De Young Museum of Art, Chrysler Museum of Art, Spencer Museum of Art, and the Palm Springs Museum of Art, among others.

Karen LaMonte | Floating World is the inaugural event for Austin Art Projects, a fine arts entity providing a platform for specific projects by artists.

Please contact David Austin or Molly McIntosh for additional information at 760.895.8658 or

* Excerpt from “Karen LaMonte Floating World”, Available Artists Monograph


Floating World
Artists Monograph