is an American
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
artist known for her life-size sculptures in ceramic
A ceramic is an inorganic, nonmetallic solid prepared by the action of heat and subsequent cooling. Ceramic materials may have a crystalline or partly crystalline structure, or may be amorphous...
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...
and cast glass as well as her large scale monotype prints
Monotyping is a type of printmaking made by drawing or painting on a smooth, non-absorbent surface. The surface, or matrix, was historically a copper etching plate, but in contemporary work it can vary from zinc or glass to acrylic glass. The image is then transferred onto a sheet of paper by...
LaMonte grew up in Manhattan, New York, NY. In 1990, she graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design
Rhode Island School of Design is a fine arts and design college located in Providence, Rhode Island. It was founded in 1877. Located at the base of College Hill, the RISD campus is contiguous with the Brown University campus. The two institutions share social, academic, and community resources and...
(RISD) with a Bachelor in Fine Arts with Honors. Immediately after college, she was awarded a fellowship at the Creative Glass Center of America, in Millville, NJ. Following that, she moved to Brooklyn, NY, and worked at UrbanGlass, a not-for-profit public access glass studio. During this period, she pursued artwork in blown and cast glass, which were exhibited at fine art galleries.
In 1995, LaMonte met Steven Polaner. whom she later married. In 1998, they moved to the Czech Republic, where LaMonte was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to pursue the use of large-scale cast glass in her artwork.
During her Fullbright year, LaMonte began working at Zdenek Lhotsky's Pelechov glass casting studio in Železný Brod
Železný Brod is a town in Liberec Region of the Czech Republic. Located in Jablonec nad Nisou District on the Jizera River, the town is on a railway line connecting Pardubice and Liberec.-History:...
in Eastern Bohemia - most famously associated with Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová
Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová are contemporary artists. Their works are included in many major modern art collections, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Victoria & Albert Museum....
, an artistic team often credited with the first studio glass sculptures. While here, she developed Vestige
, a cast glass life-size sculpture of a dress, which took one year to complete and required the development of special technologies, including the introduction of the lost wax technique to Czech glass casting studios. Vestige
was to become a seminal artwork, the beginning of an important body of work with far reaching influence on the field of contemporary art and glass.
Karen LaMonte's exhibition profile, which includes the Czech Museum of Fine Art in Prague, the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, VA, and the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA
The Museum of Glass is a museum dedicated to the medium of glass art located in Tacoma, Washington. It is not to be confused with the various other Museums of Glass, such as the one in Corning, New York, as the museum focuses on Contemporary and Pacific Northwest glass-art.The museum, the...
, as well as her inclusion in the permanent collections of museums such as The Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Renwick Gallery, Washington DC
The Smithsonian American Art Museum is a museum in Washington, D.C. with an extensive collection of American art.Part of the Smithsonian Institution, the museum has a broad variety of American art that covers all regions and art movements found in the United States...
, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, the Musée des Arts décoratifs, Paris, France, and The National Gallery of Australia, Canberra marks her as a major contemporary artist.
Her art deals largely with the central themes of beauty and loss, exploring the fragility of the human condition through a sartorial lens.
Her work has been critically acclaimed and written about by art critics such as Arthur Danto
Arthur Coleman Danto Arthur Coleman Danto Arthur Coleman Danto (born January 1, 1924 is an American art critic, and professor of philosophy. He is best known as the influential, long-time art critic for The Nation and for his work in philosophical aesthetics and philosophy of history, though he...
. In his 2005 essay The Poetry of Meaning and Loss: The Glass Dresses of Karen LaMonte
, Danto wrote about Vestige
- "The dress belonged to a moment when the wearer was, to use an expression of Proust’s, en fleur. The dress belonged to a certain moment of history, which it preserves—it shows how women dressed for certain occasions at a certain moment. The wearer will have aged. She looked like that then, but, if she is still alive, it is certain she will not look that way now. There is a double melancholy—the melancholy of fashion, and the melancholy of bodily change, from nubility to decrepitude. The breasts have fallen, the waist thickened, the skin has lost it transparency and luminescence. The poignancy of LaMonte’s dresses is a product of two modes of change in which we participate as human beings, composed, as we are, of flesh and meaning. Their poetry is the poetry of beauty and loss."
LaMonte's newest body of work draws inspiration from Japan, exploring the same themes through a different cultural lens.
- Corning Museum of Glass
The Corning Museum of Glass, in Corning, New York, explores every facet of glass, including art, history, culture, science and technology, craft, and design....
/Kohler Arts Center, Joint Artist-in-Residence Program, 2009
- Jutta Cuny Franz Memorial Award, Laureate, 2007
- Japan-United States Friendship Commission, NEA . Creative Artists Exchange Fellowship Program, 2006
- The Virginia A. Groot Foundation, Recognition Award, 2005
- UrbanGlass, Award for New Talent in Glass, 2002
- Creative Glass Center of America, Fellowship, 2002 & 1991
- The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, Biennial Award, 2001
- Fulbright Fellowship, Czech Republic, 1999–2000
- Racine Art Museum
The Racine Art Museum and RAM’s Charles A. Wustum Museum of Fine Arts are located in Racine, Wisconsin.-History:The Charles A. Wustum Museum was founded in 1941. Jennie E. Wustum, widow of Charles A. Wustum, donated their house, property and small trust fund to the City of Racine, Wisconsin...
and RAM’s Charles A. Wustum Museum of Fine Arts, Racine, Wisconsin
- Chazen Museum of Art
The Chazen Museum of Art is an art museum accredited by the American Association of Museums located at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in Madison, Wisconsin. It was known as the Elvehjem Museum of Art until 2005...
, Madison, Wisconsin
- Chrysler Museum of Art
The Chrysler Museum of Art is an art museum in the Ghent district of Norfolk, Virginia. The museum was originally founded in 1933 as the Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences. In 1971, automotive heir, Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. , donated most of his extensive collection to the museum...
, Norfolk, Virginia - Dress VIII (2002), Reclining Drapery Impression (2009)
- The Corning Museum, Corning, New York - Specimen IV Sloth (1997), Blue Dress (1998), Evening Dress with Shawl (2004)
- Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas - Dress Impression with Wrinkled Cowl (2007)
- M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, California - Dress 3 (2001)
- Hunter Museum of American Art
The Hunter Museum of American Art is an art museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The museum's collections include works representing the Hudson River School, 19th century genre painting, American Impressionism, the Ashcan School, early modernism, regionalism, and post World War II modern and...
, Chattanooga, TN - Reclining Dress Impression with Drapery (2006)
- The Museum of American Glass, Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center, Millville, New Jersey
- Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA - Pianist's Dress Impression (2005)
- The Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Renwick Gallery, Washington DC - Untitled (2002), Reclining Dress Impression with Drapery (2007)
- The Toledo Museum of Art
The Toledo Museum of Art is an internationally known art museum located in the Old West End neighborhood of Toledo, Ohio, United States. The museum was founded by Toledo glassmaker Edward Drummond Libbey in 1901, and moved to its present location, a Greek revival building designed by Edward B....
, Toledo, OH - Dress Impression with Train (2005)
- The Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, Arizona - Bottle Clothesline (1995)
- Alexander Tutsek Foundation, Munich, Germany - Lark Mirror (2004), Oval Mirror (2004)
- National Gallery of Australia
The National Gallery of Australia is the national art gallery of Australia, holding more than 120,000 works of art. It was established in 1967 by the Australian government as a national public art gallery.- Establishment :...
, Canberra, Australia - Dress 4 (2001)
- Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, France
- 2010 Floating World, Palm Desert, CA
- 2010 Réflexions Féminines. Musée-Atelier départemental du Verre, Sars-Poteries, France
- 2010 Drapery Abstractions, Heller Gallery, New York, NY
- 2009 Contemporary Glass Among the Classics. Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA
- 2005 Absence Adorned. Museum of Glass International Center for Contemporary Art, Tacoma, WA
- 2004 Vanitas. Czech Museum of Fine Art, Prague, Czech Republic
Karen LaMonte Studio
Karen LaMonte Studio is run by her husband, Steven Polaner. He has worked with LaMonte since 2001 managing and assisting LaMonte with her artwork and installations. He accompanies her on research expeditions such as a seven month Japan/U.S. cultural exchange fellowship in 2007.