Karen Kirshner has shared her abstract art with the world for years, and now her hard work will pay off when her solo show launches at the George Billis Gallery in Manhattan.
After her art took off in 2018, winning awards and gaining her recognition, Kirshner never looked back. The 65-year-old artist is taking her work to the city for the show that will run until June 29.
She had other solo shows last year at Onward & Upward, at the B.J. Spoke Gallery, and Spotlight Artist, at the Paramount Theatre.
Kirshner has always been into abstract art, even though art wasn’t initially her career path of choice.
“My mother was the artist and the art teacher, and my father was the writer or the journalist and the advertising man and the lawyer, and I wanted to be like my father,” Kirshner said. “I always was a writer. I always wanted to be a famous American author.”
When her mother Betty, who specialized in humanist expression art, was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in the early 2000’s, Kirshner became her primary caregiver reviving her passion for art. When Betty died, Kirshner threw herself full force into art in 2015.
Kirshner, who will have upwards of 20 pieces at the show, has shown her work with Billis before, once at his Connecticut gallery and other times at art fairs. She met him several years ago in Southampton where he became very interested in her work.
“He usually shows realistic work, representational work and minimalist work,” Kirshner said. “He never shows complex abstracts like mine — but he invited me to have a solo show.
“I’m so happy because I’m the only oddball one. I’m the wild abstract person so I think he really sees something he likes in it and keeps saying how powerful my work is.”
Kirshner said that she feels honored to be in the art field with her abstract art, and that she’s glad it’s getting recognized.
“I have my own style and people have tried to copy me many times, but I have a unique style,” she said. “I think that’s what George Billis probably recognizes.”
Kirshner said that she comes off as a very gentle, kind soul, but all of her passion and power comes out through her pieces.
“I don’t sparkle, I don’t have extraordinary charisma,” she said. “But you don’t know that I have all of this passion in me. I really am a powerful person, but it’s all on the inside.
“I project it all onto my canvas, it’s strong. People look at my work and don’t believe I did it.”
There will be some new pieces at the show, and some familiar favorites. She thinks her bright pieces hung up on the windows will draw people in.
“The thing about being an artist, there’s a whole community and it’s pretty supportive,” she said. “It’s just a wonderful feeling to be a part of a community of people who want to make the world a more beautiful place.”