Paintings by Karena A. Karras


Genesis, oil on board, 22"x 28", 2005

Stylized long necked human figures are hybridized and become one with the exotic natural forces that surround them.  The human figure becomes one with a tree, or the ground, as the hair transforms into vegetation or flowing streams, and roots sprout from the ankles to become parts of trees or entangled in the decaying undergrowth of a forest floor.  Parts of bodies sprout leaves and flowers grow instead of hair.  The lines between human and nature are blurred.  The result is alchemy and the medium is paint.


Karras works in the tradition similar to that used by the early Sienese and Flemish Renaissance Masters.  The luminous quality of her paintings comes from layer upon layer of glazes used, resulting in a dreamlike surreal atmosphere.





The lineage of Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington are evident in Karras' work.  Karena was a close friend with Leonora Carrington, when Leonora resided in Oak Park, Illinois. Yet, when asked, Karras does not consider herself to be a Surrealist painter, as she feels that her work delves deeper into the realm of the metaphysical and metarealist traditions..


Oracle (detail), oil on board, 2001






Karena A Karras is a Chicago native and a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has also studied at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, The Naguib School of Sculpture and the Vogue School of Design. Mainly a painter, Karena's work also includes box constructions, collage and sculpture. 



Eclipse, oil on canvas, 40" x 30", 1996

Eclipse (detail), oil on canvas, 1996


Lamia, acrylic on board, 12"x6", 1998

Reflection, acrylic on board, 14"x12", 1994

For more information please contact Karena A. Karras directly at

Listen to a 2:06 audio clip about the painting Ostrich Dream: 
Robert T. Wright Gallery Talks : Karena Karras


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