January 7 – February 14, 2021
While in the throes of grief I sought to visually express what was so difficult for others to hear. I had suffered a traumatic loss. In addition to grief, I was experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which resulted in severe brain disfunction. My brain simply could not make sense of my new reality, I was unable to make cognitive connections or problem solve at even a base level. Feeling trapped and in a continual state of transition, I was caught between the life I once had and the one I hoped to live. ‘Between Two Worlds’ was created to visually express this experience, the devastating effects of grief and trauma.
I wanted a way to depict that ambiguous void, the space that lacks clarity or form. As I worked through my creative process with limited abilities, I discovered a minimal color palette and layers of reflected light would illustrate the language of the subconscious. I developed a specific method of intertwining elements digitally to portray the depth of the emotional experience.
Grief and trauma affect nearly everyone, yet collectively we haven’t learned to tell the truth about our pain. My personal experience brought about a keen awareness. There is an acute lack of understanding, of how to support and help those in crisis in our society. ’Between Two Worlds’ is intended to act as a catalyst for conversation, a prompt to tell our stories, to foster the courage to do so in the face of what cannot be transformed.
Karen Olson is an artist working in photography, a graphic designer, and a writer. Her work illustrates the language of the subconscious; human emotion with all its intricacies and complexities. She feels strongly that it is our strength to express the deepest part of ourselves, to validate and honor the pain we carry in our hearts. She has been featured in many galleries and shows throughout the US such as the Torpedo Art Center – Target Gallery, the Rhode Island Center for Photography, and the Griffin Museum of Photography. She won honorable mention in the 2020 Maine Photography Show for her image, ‘Grit.’ Karen has also been featured in several online and print magazines including The Hand, Artful Blogging, and Bella Grace.
Karen Olson has been a working Maine artist for over 30 years and has studied with both local and visiting artists and photographers at Maine Media Workshops and College and other venues both in the US and abroad. She is an active part of the Midcoast Maine art scene having worked as executive director and instructor for the Art Loft, a community arts center in Rockland, Maine. She created and wrote two arts-related blogs over five years, one for Bangor Daily News, the other a blog discussing the creative process. She is an avid student of creativity, specifically working to understand the neuropsychology behind the creative process and how it benefits our mental and emotional health.
Recent projects include ‘Between Two Worlds,’ which exists as a series and book of poetry, text, and imagery designed to act as a companion for those who suffer grief and trauma. Another project, “Wildheart,’ is a series of images depicting the multisensory experience and healing properties of forest bathing. Karen is currently working on a project entitled ‘Empathy,’ which employs both photography and photo-based mixed media. The project centers around the concept of attentive self-empathy and cognitive empathy for others.