Karen Carrino’s ink and pencil drawings, oil and watercolor paintings, and clay sculpture of children reveal a depth of feeling and a level of craft that are remarkable in such a young artist. Her tragic death in a 1972 car accident, just a few days after her nineteenth birthday, is all the more poignant in view of the artistic legacy she left behind. With this collection of 124 works on the subject of young children, Deborah Carrino celebrates her sister’s great talent and shares Karen’s love for the special inner qualities of children, which are revealed in skillfully rendered figures, extraordinary attention to detail, and an ability to capture the elusive and intertwined emotions of her subjects.
Much of Karen’s work was sold by her grief-stricken father at an art show shortly after her death. In 1990, Deborah, a survivor of the hit-and-run crash that killed Karen; her eight-year-old brother, Michael; and three-year-old Lisa Boudrie, launched a search for Karen’s work, eventually locating nearly three hundred pieces.
Karen saw children as lively and truthful, natural and unhidden, in a way that adults often aren’t. For Karen, there was no separation between her art and her life. She had passionate beliefs about child rearing and childhood education. She had hoped to one day teach young children. “I want to free children,” she told a reporter at an art show held during her senior year in high school. In all of her work there is no distracting background, nothing to stand between the viewer and the child.
Karen’s work gives us the chance to attend to the child as seriously and respectfully as she did. Her own quiet strength is apparent in the clear focus and straightforwardness of her work.
Karen’s work has been the subject of three exhibitions that have generated local and international media attention from CNN , the CBS Evening News, the New York Times, and the Associated Press.