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Karen Tam

Karen Tam Silk Road: Storm-Detectors, Blood-Sweating Horses, and Constellations 2016 Vue d'exposition  Installation view Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, Montreal, Canada

Karen Tam
Silk Road: Storm-Detectors, Blood-Sweating Horses, and Constellations
2016
Vue d’exposition
Installation view
Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, Montreal, Canada

Karen Tam, Made in Britain (solo), 2015, Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, Montréal, Canada

Karen Tam, Made in Britain (solo), 2015, Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, Montréal, Canada

Karen Tam Turandot’s Trophies 2011 Fausses perles, fil à pêche Imitation pearl beads, fishing wire 161 x 161 cm (63 1/2

Karen Tam Turandot’s Trophies 2011
Fausses perles, fil à pêche
Imitation pearl beads, fishing wire
161 x 161 cm (63 1/2″ x 63 1/2″)

Karen Tam, Flying Cormorant Studio, 2014, Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Canada

Karen Tam, Flying Cormorant Studio, 2014, Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Canada

Karen Tam, Flying Cormorant Studio, 2014, Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Canada

Karen Tam, Flying Cormorant Studio, 2014, Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Canada

Opium Den, installation, Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal (Montréal, Canada)

Opium Den, installation, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (Montréal, Canada)

Artist statement

Karen Tam’s work revolves around issues relating to the representation of Asia in America and Europe through art, literature, media and consumer goods. She questions this slightly distorted Orient: an Orient tailor-made to the taste of the Western market.

Through appropriation and subversive strategies, Tam meticulously reproduces antiques, ornaments, traditional Chinese cutouts, typical interiors of Chinese restaurants and even opium dens. Yet, the artist maintains a subtle distinction between the original source of inspiration and her own interpretation from which emerges a clear critique that activates cultural and identity issues relating to racism and the globalization of trade.

Ironically, Tam’s sculptures and installations appropriate and magnify the aesthetics of this China fantasized by and for the West, through cutouts whose traditional iconography has been subverted, miniatures in ivory shaped in Ivory soap, antique porcelain made from papier-mâché, and decorative lanterns out of cardboard.

The cultural overlap that these contemporary chinoiseries reflect triggers again the history of trade routes between ‘East’ and ‘West’; it recalls the Canadian government’s exclusionary policies towards the Chinese; it deals with the imaging of cultures through contact and stereotypes; just as it updates the question of authenticity in contemporary art using a cultural studies framework.

Karen Tam, Chinese Fever, 2014, installation, Écho 2, Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, Montréal

Karen Tam, Chinese Fever, 2014, installation, Écho 2, Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, Montréal

Karen Tam  Automata Tea Drinkers  2014 Papier doré découpé  Gold paper-cutout 38.5 x 28 cm (15

Karen Tam
Automata Tea Drinkers
2014
Papier doré découpé
Gold paper-cutout
38.5 x 28 cm (15″ x 11″)
Éd. 2 + 1 ÉA
(Drawing Centre, New York, USA, 2014)

Karen Tam Sinography 2013 Cyanotype sur papier Cyanotype on paper 176 comp./15 x 15 cm 243 x 168 cm

Karen Tam
Sinography
2013
Cyanotype sur papier
Cyanotype on paper
176 comp./15 x 15 cm
243 x 168 cm

Karen Tam From Frog's Robe to Crow's Feet and Dried Old Bones to Vinegar Drinkers 2009 Tissu découpé (brillant) Fabric cut-out (glitter) 143 x 394 cm (56” x 155”)

Karen Tam
From Frog’s Robe to Crow’s Feet and Dried Old Bones to Vinegar Drinkers
2009
Tissu découpé (brillant)
Fabric cut-out (glitter)
143 x 394 cm (56” x 155”)

Karen Tam Des mimes et des mites, 2017 [exposition_exhibition] Conseil des Arts de Montréal, Montréal, Canada

Karen Tam
Des mimes et des mites, 2017 [exposition_exhibition]
Conseil des Arts de Montréal, Montréal, Canada

Biography

Karen Tam (b. 1977) lives and works in Montreal, Britain and the United States. She holds a MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a PhD from the Centre for Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Karen Tam’s work has been the subject of several solo shows, including at the: Khyber Centre for the Arts (Halifax, NS) (2003); Irish Museum of Modern Art (Dublin) (2004); MAI (Montréal, QC) (2004); Diagonale artist-run center (Montréal, QC) (2006); Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba (Brandon, MB) (2006); Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (Victoria, BC) (2007); CUE Arts Foundation (New York, NY) (2008); Southern Alberta Art Gallery (Lethbridge, AB) (2008); Robert Langen Gallery, Wilfred Laurier University (Waterloo, ON) (2011); as well as at the Art Gallery of Windsor (Windsor, ON) (2016-2017). She has also taken part in multiple group shows in Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom, Austria, Argentina, United States, and China.

Karen Tam participated in many artist residency programs in Canada, Germany, United-States, Austria, United Kingdom, and China. She has been the recipient of various grants and fellowships throughout her career and was on the longlist for the prestigious 2010 Sobey Art Award. Her works are part of private collections in Canada, United States and the United Kingdom including the Collection de la Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. Karen Tam is represented by Galerie Hugues Charbonneau in Montréal.

Karen Tam Terra dos Chinês Curio Shop, 2012-16 “SHEEN-WAH-ZREE” [exposition_exhibition] Musée d'art contemporain des Laurentides, St-Jérôme, Canada

Karen Tam
Terra dos Chinês Curio Shop, 2012-16
“SHEEN-WAH-ZREE” [exposition_exhibition]
Musée d’art contemporain des Laurentides, St-Jérôme, Canada

Karen Tam The Sporting Life: Football, 2015 The Sporting Life: Golf, 2015 Papier mâché (journaux chinois, colle à tapisserie avec protection contre l’humidité et la moisissure), encre à base de pigments, gesso, vernis avec protection UV. Papier-mâché (Chinese newspaper, wallpaper paste w/ fungicide and moisture protection), pigmented India ink/encre de Chine, gesso, UV archival varnish. 40 x 25 x 25 cm (15 3/4”  x 10” x 10”) ch. | ea.

Karen Tam
The Sporting Life: Football, 2015
The Sporting Life: Golf, 2015
Papier mâché (journaux chinois, colle à tapisserie avec protection contre l’humidité et la moisissure), encre à base de pigments, gesso, vernis avec protection UV.
Papier-mâché (Chinese newspaper, wallpaper paste w/ fungicide and moisture protection), pigmented India ink/encre de Chine, gesso, UV archival varnish.
40 x 25 x 25 cm (15 3/4” x 10” x 10”) ch. | ea.

Karen Tam Inception Vase (Porcelaine Collection series), 2015 Papier mâché (journaux chinois, colle à tapisserie avec protection contre l’humidité et la moisissure), encre à base de pigments, gesso, gesse clair Papier-mâché (Chinese newspaper, wallpaper paste w/ fungicide and moisture protection), pigmented India ink, gesso, clear gesso 46 x 21 x 22 cm (18” x 8 1/4” x 8 1/2”)

Karen Tam
Inception Vase (Porcelaine Collection series), 2015
Papier mâché (journaux chinois, colle à tapisserie avec protection contre l’humidité et la moisissure), encre à base de pigments, gesso, gesse clair
Papier-mâché (Chinese newspaper, wallpaper paste w/ fungicide and moisture protection), pigmented India ink, gesso, clear gesso
46 x 21 x 22 cm (18” x 8 1/4” x 8 1/2”)

Karen Tam Chinese Kingfisher Silver Ornaments Collection  2013-present Aluminium, Chinese cock feathers, wire, pearls, rhinestones

Karen Tam
Chinese Kingfisher Silver Ornaments Collection
2013-present
Aluminium, Chinese cock feathers, wire, pearls, rhinestones

Karen Tam Geungsi Paradise: Card Tray II, 2012 Papier-mâché, peinture, marqueur doré Papier-mâché, paint, gold marker 35.6 x 25.4 x 2.5 cm (14 x 10 x 1 in)

Karen Tam
Geungsi Paradise: Card Tray II, 2012
Papier-mâché, peinture, marqueur doré
Papier-mâché, paint, gold marker
35.6 x 25.4 x 2.5 cm (14 x 10 x 1 in)