Karen Ann Myers may be the assistant director of the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, but her own career as a contemporary artist is also taking off—last year, she was named one of Oxford American magazine’s “100 Under 100: The New Superstars of Southern Art.” With an MFA in painting and women’s studies coursework under her belt, she’s become known for tackling topics of femininity and identity in her portraits of scantily clad young women in their bedrooms. On February 1, her solo exhibition, “Mouthful of Diamonds,” goes up at Robert Lange Studios.
On her latest exhibit: The paintings are therapeutic in a way. It’s me trying to understand what it means to be a young woman in contemporary society. I think of all my paintings as self portraits. My friends are stand-ins for myself.
On the more risque aspects of her work: I’m not trying to hit people over the head with anything, but I am trying to spark dialogue on sexuality and identity. I enjoy presenting topics that make people uncomfortable.
Her almost career: I actually decided on pharmacy, but it was just so boring. As a pharmacy intern, I became obsessed with the variety of colors and structures of the pills. I would arrange them into patterns on the tray while filling prescriptions.
Go-to for inspiration: My fashion magazines. They help me with poses for figures. Right now, I’m really into Navajo textiles, too.
Favorite vacation spot: I’ve told people that I’m going on vacation, and I’m actually in my living room, just painting. I’ve gone five days without stepping foot out of my apartment.
Secret ambition: I want to say “world domination” but that just sounds ridiculous. Essentially, I want to dominate my world.
See Her Work: “Mouthful of Diamonds” is on exhibit from February 1-22 at Robert Lange Studios, 2 Queen St. View more of Myers’ paintings at www.karenannmyers.com.