Selected works by Karen Heagle

Karen Heagle
The End Of Abundance


Acrylic and ink on paper

131 x 203 cm

New York-based painter Karen Heagle’s The End of Abundance brings together a variety of characteristically autobiographical symbols: a jar of paint brushes, a discarded tube of green paint, even a tiny trophy (‘Most Christian Girl Award’) the artist was awarded on graduation from her Catholic high school. For Heagle, the detritus of the past is to be picked through, collated or discarded; to that end, she often uses the image of a vulture as a proxy self-portrait, the cold-eyed sifter through the trash of personal history. Here, though, the painting’s title, suggesting a finger-wagging moral allegory of the seventeenth century, gives the painting an unplanned societal resonance. Made in the months leading up to the collapse of the US economy, its end of- days associations are drawn into sharper focus: might those vultures take on a more sinister aspect in that light? Regardless of its economic prescience, though, Heagle’s painting is really about the tools of creativity itself: the mountain of collected experiences – here embodied in watermelon slices, plastic bags, logs – through which every artist has to sort to generate an expressive language. The visual echoes in the painting (each patch of colour its own small peak in an ascension of forms) are that language making itself heard.

Text by Ben Street

Karen Heagle's Biography

Karen Heagle
Born in 1967, Tomah, Wisconsin
Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY


Let Nature Take Its Course and Hope It Passes, I-20 Gallery, New York

Volta Contemporary Art Fair, New York

Karen Heagle: She’ll Get Hers, I-20 Gallery, New York.
SWAB International Contemporary Art Fair, Barcelona, Spain

Karen Heagle: Strictly Naturals, I-20 Gallery, New York

Fierce, 31GRAND, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

Puritans, Perverts, and Feminists, 31GRAND, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

Karen Heagle: Recent Work, Ray O’Farrell Gallery, Brunswick, Maine


I Killed My Father, I Ate Human Flesh, I Quiver with Joy: a Pasolini Obsession,” curated by Benjamin Tischer, and Risa Needleman, Allegra LaViola Gallery, New York

Art on Paper Biennial, Weatherspoon Museum of Art, Greensboro, NC
Shake Off the Dust, Allegra LaViola Gallery, New York
The Mutable Portrait, Clifford Chance, NYC

Raw State, curated by Marina Ancona, Shelby Street Gallery, Santa Fae, NM
Next Wave Art, Brooklyn Academy of Music, curated by Dan Cameron.
Lush Life 3: First Birds (A Few Butterflies), curated by Franklin Evans, Omar Lopez-Chahoud, Invisible Exports, New York.
Elements of Nature: Selections from the Fredrick R. Weisman Art Foundation. City of Lancaster Museum, Lancaster, CA. June-Aug.

Lover, curated by Kate Gilmore and Candice Madey, On Stellar Rays, New York.

The Guys we Would Fuck, curated by Nayland Blake. Monya Rowe Gallery, New York.

I remember nothing…, SHAG Sehlman Helwaser Art Gallery, New York
No New Tale To Tell, 31 Grand Gallery, New York

Men, organized by Ellen Alfest, I-20 Gallery, New York
Panic Room, Deste Foundation Centre For Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece
You have to be almost gifted to do what I do, curated by Oliver Newton and Steven Stewart, Alexander and Bonin

Culture Vulture, curated by David Gibson, Jack the Pelican Presents, Brooklyn, New York

Rimbaud, curated by Max Henry, I-20 Gallery, New York

Superheroes, Ruby Green Contemporary Art, Nashville, Tennessee
Now Playing, curated by John Connelly, D’amelio Terras, New York
Girls Gone Wild, curated by Katherine Bernhardt, Bronwyn Keenan, New York

Queer Visualities, curated by Carl Pope, Stony Brook University Art Gallery, New York
Enough About Me, Momenta Art, curated by Deborah Kass, Brooklyn, New York

Smirk: Woman, Art, Humor, curated by Debra Wacks, Firehouse Art Gallery, Nassau Community College, Long Island
Danica Phelps: Trade Two, LFL Gallery, New York