Looking Out / Looking In
2021 Member's Exhibition



Karen Viola

Karen works and resides in White Plains, NY. She has extensive experience designing innovative children’s books and now runs her own business and micro publishing imprint, Climbing Tree Press, offering book art editions, prints, and hand-dyed textiles.

We the Children

This book, “We the Children,” was my response to the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas and the ongoing carnage of gun violence in these Divided States. Art as activism is a new direction I am increasingly compelled to explore. It features a page of 'magnetic poetry' where the exact words of the Second Amendment can be reconfigured in a myriad of ways as a meditation on the fact that scholars, pundits, politicians, and citizens still debate its meaning and use or abuse this accordingly. The book also shares website links to organizations dedicated to gun violence prevention.

5.5 x 5.5 inches
Ink on paper, magnetic sheet and magnets, string


As human society wakes up to its own fragility and unsustainable lifestyle, I am challenging myself to find my own New Normal as an artist and maker by making use of ‘single-use’ plastic as a medium and substrate. This book, “Temple,” speaks to my return to the arms of trees, which offer a meditative space of solace through all of life’s seasons in the face of so much existential angst. With the exception of the painted paper strips of text and binding thread, the book is made out of fused plastic food packaging.

4 x 11 inches (closed) or 9 x 11 inches (open)
Fused plastic bags, painted paper, and thread

On the Fence

I find I am often in a state of both looking out and looking in, peering through some kind of metaphorical fence, unsure of which side I am actually on. Torn between ideas, I am compelled to bind them together into something new. Recognizing and maintaining personal and creative boundaries can also be a challenge. My poem and book grew from all this. One of a kind.

3 x 3 inches folded, 2 inches deep, accordion unfolded width 38 inches
handmade kozo paper, old journal scraps, acrylic medium, wine bottle sleeves, and thread


This introspective book mimics a quiver of arrows. It presents a poem which serves as a self-protective, prayerful reminder to listen to the language of my body and act with compassion towards it. Each arrow points a different way. One of a kind.

contained, closed size: 5 x 12.5 x 1.5, fanned-open book size approx 22 x 12 inches area
basswood, mixed papers, ink, acrylic paint, sinew wax thread, cork fabric, pigskin, leather lace, hemp thread, and acrylic beads