karen lamonte ceramic bijin kimono
karen lamonte ceramic bijin
Karen LaMonte iron kimono, ceramic chado
karen lamonte iron bijin kimono
karen lamonte maquette kimono

Karen LaMonte

Ukiyo, Chicago

November 5 – 9, 2014

The exhibition, located at the Zhou B Art Center in the site of the old Spiegel catalog facility, was the most comprehensive installation of LaMonte’s “Ukiyo” to date. The nineteen major pieces were dramatically installed in a grid among the impressive columns of the factory building.  The space also allowed for the exhibition of “Etudes”, a preview of the works LaMonte will be exhibiting in two museum exhibitions in Venice and Murano during the 2015 Venice Biennale.



Zhou B Art Center, 1029 W 35th St, Chicago, IL 60609

Austin Art Projects is pleased to present Karen LaMonte | Ukiyo Chicago from November 5 - 9, 2014.  The exhibition will be housed in the main exhibition space of the Zhou B Art Center in the Bridgeport section of Chicago, in what was the Spiegel factory warehouse. This is the most recent exhibition in Austin Art Projects’ program of installations of satellite exhibitions in spaces outside of the main gallery in Palm Desert, California.

Born in 1967, Karen LaMonte is a well recognized contemporary artist with her early roots associated with the medium of glass. Ukiyo 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 artist's 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, reects a cultural anity 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 dierences 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 including ceramic, bronze, and cast iron, in addition to her recognizable monumental cast glass works. The installation includes works in all mediums.

Additionally, this exhibition will preview a new body of work the artist is creating for two solo museum exhibitions during the Venice Biennale in 2015 at the Museum of Glass in Murano and the Museum of Fabrics and Costumes in Venice. 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 Art Museum, among others.


* Excerpt from "Karen LaMonte Floating World", Available Artists Monograph