Karen May (b. 1950)

 Karen May’s work is almost funerary in nature, seeking to recapture the memories of her past. For more than a half-century May lived with her mother and father and memories of this seemingly idyllic time tend to haunt her work. Her paintings are often depictions of the home they shared. Her sculptures are recreations of her family.

May is also an avid fan of popular music, frequently incorporating lyrics of hit songs and standards into her work.

May manipulates art exhibition advertisements in art periodicals with ink and marker creating detournements. They’ve been exhibited at numerous art fairs by White Columns.

// Karen’s available work //

recent exhibition history

Microcosmic // organized by Dawline-Jane Oni-Eseleh NIAD Art Center 2018

The Genre Leaps // organized by Margaret Tedesco NIAD Art Center 2018

Reinventing History // NIAD Art Center 2018

Can Did // organized By Julio Rodriguez NIAD Art Center 2018

The Witnesses // organized by Cliff Hengst and Scott Hewicker NIAD Art Center 2017

Affinity // organized by Tim Buckwalter Museum of Northern California Art Chico 2017

We Can Do It! 2 // Hurwich Library, Alliant University San Francisco 2017

Collograph // NIAD Art Center 2017, Yali’s Cafe Stanley Hall Berkeley 2017

LA Art Book Fair // White Columns Booth, BFA Press Booth 2017

Creature Feature // organized by John Casey NIAD Art Center 2017

NADA Miami Art Fair // White Columns Booth Miami Florida 2016

Karen May // NIAD Art Center 2016

Curious Weave // organized by Ramekon O’Arwisters NIAD Art Center 2016

Cities In Mind // organized by Kathleen King NIAD Art Center 2016

Party Animals! // organized by Katie Johnson NIAD Art Center 2016

Celebrating A Vision: Art & Disability // SFO Terminal 2 2016

Adventure! // organized By Scott MacLeod NIAD Art Center 2015

Welcome To My World // organized by Chris Ashley NIAD Art Center 2015

Assemble: A NIAD Art Center Project With Nina Zurier // organized by Nina Zurier NIAD Art Center 2015

Musiquarium // NIAD Art Center 2015

City In Motion // NIAD Art Center 2014

Avatar // organized by Justine Frischmann NIAD Art Center 2014

Wild Ones // Women’s Cancer Resource Center Oakland 2014

Local Motion, Part One // Hercules Public Library 2013-14

Where Have All The People Gone? // organized by Amy Miller Village Theatre Art Gallery Danville 2013

Yes To The Dress Pop-Up Shop // organized by Peter Gravener NIAD Art Center 2013

Diamond Dogs Pet Supply Pop-Up Shop // NIAD Art Center 2103

Mud, Honey // NIAD Art Center 2013

Championship Vinyl // NIAD Art Center 2013

A Light That Never Goes Out: Continuing Traditions In Abstraction // NIAD Art Center 2013


Karen May, BFA Press 2016

recent press

9 Artists To Watch At NADA Miami (2017, December)

Nat. Brut: I, Too, Like Purple (May 2017)

Artsy: NADA’s Emerging Art Community Thrives Amid Turbulent Times (2016, December)

San Francisco Chronicle: “City In Motion”: NIAD Artists Create Urban Environment (2014, May)

San Francisco Chronicle: ‘Avatar’: Exhibition At NIAD Art Center (2014, January)

San Ramon Valley Times: Disabled Artists Work On Display (2013, September)

San Francisco Chronicle: NIAD Art Center’s Gifts Of Artistic Ability (2012, December)