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Paintings, Tambourines & Gourds

Karen Goodfellow’s Solo Exhibition at the Foyer Galley

Keith F. Broad
(as published in the Squamish Chief February 3, 2006)

Karen Goodfellow is part First Nations, part Gypsy and completely captivating! At the end of our two hour interview I realized that I hadn’t even scratched the surface of this enigmatic soul.
Karen often wonders if her Gypsy heritage explains why she has always been compelled to collect, “…bright, glittery stuff like beads, stones and amulets – anything brightly coloured or glittery,” she smiles. “I get consumed for weeks at a time decorating tambourines!” Mixed media paintings, decorated tambourines, and decorated gourds will be on display at Karen’s solo exhibition February 7 to March 6 in the Squamish Public Library, Foyer Gallery. “There’ll be a little bit of something for everyone,” she adds.

Karen was born and raised in Burnaby where she lives today. “But I love Squamish! My Great Great Grandfather was Chief Joe Capilano (born near Squamish circa 1840-1910, he became chief of the Capilano Reserve in 1895), and my Great Great Grandmother was a Gypsy from Austria.
Karen describes herself as an emerging artist who is gradually gaining confidence. “I want people to connect with my paintings first, then, when they express an interest in me, it’s this that gives me confidence as an artist.” In 2003 during her first show at the Foyer Gallery, she sold eight of nine paintings. “I was thrilled because it said to me, ‘Hey Karen, maybe you should keep doing this!’”

Karen began painting in her late 30’s. She has since been shown at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Centre, the Artasia Gallery, the Foyer Gallery, and was one of two indigenous artists featured in a documentary by Devin Karrington and shown in Puerto Rico at the Alliance for New Humanity 2005.
Karen’s acrylic paintings emerge over a long period of time from what she calls her indigenous spirit, or her ‘Inner Brat’. “I begin my paintings with whatever materials I am drawn to at the time. I use these to work-up the background first. Then, days or even years will go by until a form takes shape on the background.”
Her decorated gourds, suggestive of earthy, feminine shapes, contrast dramatically with the whimsical, fanciful treatment she gives her tambourines. It’s this wide disparity in artistic passions that gives the viewer a glimpse into Karen Goodfellow’s enigmatic soul.

Meet Karen at the Foyer Gallery reception Saturday February 11, 1 – 3 pm for refreshments and music by Charlotte Grundig, Harpist.


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