Visual artist Karen Rann makes sculptures, performances and installations.

The location, the environment and the context provide the impetus for new approaches to making.

The life-span for works ranges from 20 minutes - for the performance Borderline at the NIPAF Performance Festival, Japan - to more than ten years for the sculpture Spirality: the delight of the multitudes purchased by the Henry Wellcome Building for Neuroecology, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

The common thread is the relation of the work to the space for which it is made. Whether sited in a meadow, on a brine pool, in a barn, on the side of a high-rise, or in a gallery, many artworks outlive their anticipated life-spans. Plasticity at the Walker Gallery, Liverpool, was initially commissioned for the month of March, but remained on show until July and was then donated to one of the schools involved in the project for suspension in their hall.

Deep Water
Deep Water Performance: Hungary, 1994
(see outside)


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Spending time in different/unusual environments often provides the impetus for new approaches to making.

The twelve month VARC (Visual Arts in Rural Communities) Residency in the Tarset Valley, Northumberland, provided me with the time and space to produce a major new series of sculptures using the tufted hair grass that grows in abundance there.

A month long YOTA (Year of the Artist) Residency at the Salt Museum in Cheshire gave me the opportunity to explore a whole series of materials relating to the salt industry which were new to me, but that I have regularly used since.

Sometimes the working process is collaborative from start to finish and could not exist without the involvement of others. This was the case with 90 Steps in 2008. Over 50 women from the Northumberland WI were involved in planning, devising and creating this art intervention.

Although I often use unusual materials such as horticultural fleece or polyethylene foam, I research and select materials that are easy to cut and shape; a successful project is one where participants are able to be active in all aspects of the creative process.

My CV contains a comprehensive list of Commissions and Residencies completed.

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Since September 2010 I have been involved with Artists in Creative Education (AiCE) an exchange project bringing together artists from nine European countries. This entailed work in a school in Bad Vöslau, Austria and the installation, exhibition and presentation Imagination in Bucharest, Romania.

During June and July 2011, I was one of 4 artists in residence in the Station Quarter of Oldenburg, Germany. This residency was arranged by Kulturetage, a theatre based in the city.

From 1999 to 2001, I held a studio in Bochum, Germany. This was courtesy of the city administration. In return I ran occasional projects in local schools including Kugeln for the Lessing Gymnasium (High School).

Between 1995 and 2001, I took part in performance festivals in Tokyo and Nagano in Japan, Krakow in Poland and Transylvania, Romania.

During my postgraduate scholarship in Budapest from 1992 to 1994, I became a member of the Rögtönzések Színháza (Theatre of Spontaneity), where I ran occasional workshops.

As a result of the Richard Mills Travel Fellowship in 1991 and the Henrietta Bowder Travel Bursary in 1990, I made several research visits to E. Europe.

In the summer of 1991, I undertook one month’s teaching at the College of Design in Budapest and later that year, organised an invitation to four young Hungarians to take part in the Humberside Youth Theatre Festival.

My initial interest in working/living abroad was awakened in 1986 when I was invited by EASA (the European Architecture Students Assembly), to run workshops in Live Art for their Summer School in Torino, Italy.

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Since 1982 I have been facilitating workshops and giving talks, often as an integral part of a residency or exhibition. I have worked with a variety of groups/institutions including: art, design and architecture colleges, schools, art galleries, museums, community centres, hospitals, day centres for people with special needs, dance projects, theatre groups, the Women's Institute, two prisons and Creative Partnerships both as a practitioner and as Creative Agent.

Currently I am part of the Freelance Artist Team at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.

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1992 - 94 Fine Art Academy, Budapest, Hungary, post-graduate Scholarship.
1979 - 82 Hull College of Higher Education, BA Hons Fine Art.

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2007 Arts Council England, Award enabling the creation of a viable space for Open Studio events.
2007 Tynedale Business Expansion Grant, Award also for the above.
2004 Arts Council England, Cultural Business Venture Award for new equipment and website.
2004 Tynedale Business Expansion Grant for website.
1991 Richard Mills Travel Fellowship to research and set up an exchange between young people in Hull & Budapest.
1990 Henrietta Bowder Travel Bursary for travel and research in Eastern Europe.

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