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Artist Karen talks about new exhibition at University

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Karen Strang painting
One of Karen Strang's paintings from her new exhibition, "Illuminations 1874", at the University of Stirling. The Falkirk-born artist will present a free talk on the display at the University's Pathfoot Building on Sunday 6 April. Admission is free and there's no need to pre-book. Just turn up.

Falkirk-born artist Karen Strang will talk about her new exhibition at the University of Stirling at a free, public lecture this weekend.

Her show, “Illuminations 1874”, has been inspired by the life of French poet and libertine Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud. It opened at the University’s Pathfoot Building on 14 March and runs until 16 May.

On Sunday (April 6), at 2 p.m. Karen and art historian Helen Beale will visit the venue to present a talk on the exhibition. The event is open to staff, students and members of the public. Admission to the talk and exhibition is free of charge. (No need to book, just turn up.)

Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud was born in 1854 in the north of France.  His life and highly suggestive poetry inspired (amongst others) Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, Picasso, and Ginsberg.

Karen said: “I was inspired to explore the life of Arthur Rimbaud as a rebellious art student - enamoured of all things revolutionary. He has continued to fascinate and influence me over these many years. Three years ago I revisited his writing and attempted to solve some of the mysteries of his life and work, including the question of his disappearance in the second half of 1874. These artworks are my answer to the burning question – where was he?”

Jane Cameron, the University’s Art Curator, says: “Karen was inspired after reading Rimbaud’s series of prose poems, ‘llluminations’, published in 1874.

“The artworks in this exhibition are displayed in chronological order, reflecting the life of the poet, and are directly inspired by the few existing images of Rimbaud. The eclectic style of the pieces displayed emphasise Rimbaud’s role as a proponent of modernism and punk, with far reaching influence on the cultural pioneers of the 20th century.

“We’re delighted to be able to show Karen’s work at the University and look forward to welcoming her back to our Pathfoot Building on Sunday, April 6, to talk about the exhibition with the support of Helen Beale.

“Helen  will examine three ways of seeing, based on Rimbaud’s prose poems in Illuminations.  She will discuss what connections the artist might find between his/her ways of seeing and feeling, in order to create art, and the ways in which the poet uses his senses of sight, hearing, texture.”

She added: “This lecture is a joint event between the Art Collection and Groundswell, a non-profit group organised by artists and open to all artists interested in their professional development.  The group are currently working in residence at the Art Collection at the University.

“Sunday’s event is open to the public and I hope people will come along to see the exhibition and attend Karen and Helen’s lecture.”

The University has a range of paintings and sculptures on show as part of its art collection. Most works are centred on the Pathfoot Building on the main Stirling campus. The collection is open to the public seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at weekends. 

Karen Strang with artists

Falkirk-born artist Karen Strang (third from left), with artists (from left) Rhona Fairgrieve, Lys Hansen and Kate Downie at the new exhibition at the University of Stirling.


Karen Strang

• Karen Strang was born in Falkirk and graduated in Drawing and Painting at the Glasgow School of Art in 1985.

• She went on to win the Newberry Medal Prize and the Sir William Gillies student travelling scholarship. Strang’s post-graduate studies were at the Academy of Fine Art in Warsaw. She received British Council scholarships in 1985, 1986 and 1987, and her residencies include Artist Exchange Panzerhalle (Berlin, 1998) and the Oronsko Sculpture Workshop (2004).

• Strang was the recipient of the Forth Valley/Creative Scotland Artist’s Award 2012. Karen Strang has exhibited in the USA, England and Europe as well as her native Scotland, and has been a Professional Member of the Society of Scottish Artists since 1996.


Karen Strang's website

Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud on

University of Stirling Art Collection

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