One of my prized gifts from childhood is a collage my mother made me when I was about eight years old. The collage is off-balance and mostly phrases from gossip magazines instead of concocted imagery, but I always cherished the framed piece. It encapsulated the scrappy nature of my upbringing. My mother was not giving me the collage for fun. She was giving it to me because it was something inexpensive that she could make with her hands that required time and nothing more from her.
I collaged quietly and in private throughout high school and college. I frequently layered personal essays on top of my rudimentary collages for college coursework. Most of my collages struggled with balance yet there was always purpose in each choice. In recent years I visited a studio in southern New Mexico that was entirely devoted to the art of collage. I had never seen anything like it. Knowing that a universe of artists existed piecing together their own vision and history required me to turn around and treat my own work seriously.
My work is pieced together from materials primarily sourced from travels around the United States. I strive to illustrate landscape and it’s marriage to the body. My work also frequently explores the requirements that society places upon the female body, mental health and rage. However, my fundamental truth I always try to reach towards is the body as land and land as the body.
Karen Fischer is originally from Annapolis, Maryland but has lived in Chicago, New Orleans, and Gallup, New Mexico. She studied Creative Nonfiction at Columbia College Chicago. In 2019 she was awarded a Visual Arts grant from the Puffin Foundation for a folk art commission titled Will We Last Through the Winter? She has had her collages exhibited at the Art123 Gallery in Gallup, New Mexico.