Artist's Statement

My art is a celebration of nature’s web, its diverse life forms and interconnected systems. Humans are tearing at the web, damaging the balance. My work offers a perspective on the intricate network of life — one I hope might contribute to a shift in our relationship with the natural world. Images of plants, insects, microscopic life, zoology and human anatomy inspire my drawings and the shapes I incorporate into my collages and wall sculptures.

Karen Steen

Karen Steen


As a child, I loved poking around tide pools.  Peering down into small worlds filled with life delighted me. I searched through seashore guidebooks to identify shells, anemones, and urchins.

So began my fascination with biology, now the subject of my art.  Experimentation with materials is essential in my art practice. Through it I search for ways to portray the qualities of the biological world: diversity, repetition, intricacy, rhythm, balance, interconnectedness.  I began my art career as an illustrator. Many assignments were for magazine articles about health and medicine. Now, I combine the technical and conceptual skills I learned as an illustrator with the intuitive approach of a fine artist.

My recent solo exhibition Networks in Nature showed at Cottonwood Center for the Arts in Colorado Springs and the Kansas City Artists Coalition. I won first place in the 2015 group exhibition, HEAT, at Leedy-Voulkos Art Center in Kansas City. I have completed commission works for Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, Pennsylvania and Kaiser Permanente’s Largo Medical Center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. My work has appeared in solo and group shows in the mid-Atlantic, Southern California and Kansas City regions.