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Karen Nielsen-Fried


Karen Nielsen-Fried was born in Binghamton, NY. She is a graduate of Pratt Institute and of Binghamton University in Binghamton, NY.

Her training in art therapy and in expressive analysis are the underpinnings of her exploration of ephemeral states of emotion, observed and realized through painting. The desire to synthesize thought and feeling into a language of abstraction and to make a record of process are what drive her work. She currently works primarily in encaustic (beeswax, pigment and resin) and oil. Her work is held in numerous private collections both nationally and internationally. She lives and maintains a studio in Montclair, NJ. 

Karen is the founding director of Unity Gallery at The Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair, where she is also one of the creators and producers of The Muse in Montclair, an annual weekend-long celebration of the arts. Her interest in community-building through the arts has taken many forms including teaching workshops, providing arts activities for homeless families in shelters, and leading groups for artists interested in exploring the spiritual nature of their creative process. 

Whether as half-submerged equations— or color-drenched, expanding forms,  geometry is a recurring visual element in Karen’s work. She refers to the geometric works as “intuitive geometries” because “...my formal grasp of math remains in the realm of being an outsider looking on with awe and appreciation of its comprehensive reach.” Karen’s paintings are about the vast possibilities of form, and a celebration of color. 

Says Karen about her work, “Image-making is my way of examining, synthesizing, and making a visual record of non-verbal responses to the complex experience of being. My process of painting gives form to the inchoate, and is an expression of the elegance and order, the randomness and chaos that exist in the interconnected web of all things. I want my work to lead to a consideration of the profound experience of beauty and mystery in the context of impermanence and the passage of time.


Folding, 36x36, encaustic on panel



Absolute Abundance, 20x20, encaustic on panel



All the Little Pieces, 24x24, encaustic on panel



Letters to No One, 18x36, encaustic on panel



In the Details, 30x24, encaustic on panel



Let Everything Happen, 36x36, acrylic on panel



Scroll, 36x24, acrylic on panel


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