Jun 26th 2021

moniquemeloche is pleased to announce Karen Reimer’s sixth solo exhibition with the gallery – Sea Change.  For this exhibition, Reimer will present a new body of quilt and textile works, existing at the intersection of the decorative and the linguistic, using  data visualizations pulled from the discourses of global climate change.

Reimer’s meticulous embroideries confront the enormity of environmental disasters through replicated scientific graphs plotting increasing heat waves and severe droughts, as well as extreme precipitation events, the reality of imminent disaster in its most palatable form.  Yet through juxtaposing different visual and cultural languages the information begins to destabilize, creating graphic puns in the form of pattern, an optical illusion existing between fact and form.  The handworked objects present as an ongoing physical meditation on the notion of reuse, utilizing found textiles, a tangible manifestation of an ethic of salvage.  Each component has been dyed and redyed, reconfigured, and resewn, bringing forth many iterations of its life as material and evoking the potential for plurality of existence.  Reimer works to establish something more complex and ambiguous than the traditional and oppositional binaries that ground contemporary culture’s relationship to knowledge and existence, the continuous search for some sort of Zeno’s paradox within the literal climate of the future.

Born from a legacy that prized craftsmanship and the ingenuity of making, Reimer’s work presents a true romance with labor and repetitive action, disrupting linearity in a way that seemingly stops time and catalyzes thought processes through the long-established methods of decorative craft.  Nothing is strictly contemplative, each work functions as a living object; while visually resonant, the potential of value through possible functionality is always present.  Reimer pushes concept and material, art and labor, prompting the viewer to reflect upon the metrics through which we gauge virtuosity, the conflicting value systems applied to art and to other objects. The resultant work inhabits the gap between intellectual and physical knowledge, and codification of the empirical that now becomes experiential.

By combining the tactics and tropes of minimalism and conceptual art with those of domestic decoration, Reimer’s uses form and material as a means to deliver content, creating an optical and tactile rumination on the larger collapse of cultural foundations and our capacity to coexist with the earth’s ecosystems.


Karen Reimer (American, b. 1958, lives Chicago) is a conceptual craft artist based in Chicago, IL. She has a BA from Bethel College, North Newton, Kansas and an MFA from the University of Chicago, IL.

Reimer is a recipient of the Artadia Individual Artist Grant, the Richard A. Driehaus Individual Artist Award, and the Women’s Caucus for the Arts President’s Award. Recent solo and group exhibitions include Outside In, LAXART, Los Angeles (2019), Unravelled, Beirut Art Center, Lebanon, (2016), Shoretime Spaceline, Hyde Park Art Center (2016), Material Gestures: Cut, Weave, Sew, Knot, Rhona Hoffman Gallery (2014); ; Wall Text, curated by Zachary Cahill and Monika Szewczyk, Logan Center Exhibitions, University of Chicago (2012); and Endless Set, at Gallery 400, University of Illinois, Chicago, and Owens Art Gallery, Mount Allison University, New Brunswick (both 2012). Endless,—the first major publication on Karen’s pioneer craft aesthetic—was published by Gallery 400 and WhiteWalls in 2015.

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