Karen Schreiber
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Multiple Exposure: Karen Schreiber’s Painterly Eye
Hamilton Magazine, Summer 2000

Karen Schreiber didn't ever think of herself as an artist. When she studied with Freeman Patterson and Andre Gallant in 1998, she had been making travel documentary photographs for almost a decade. It was Freeman'sinterest in multiple exposures, combined with Schreiber's love of impressionist painting that made for a potent mix that year.

"Patterson's approach to photo workshops has more to do with the Art Of Seeing-he has a book called that-than with a technical focus" says Schreiber. "Once I was no longer tied to a tripod, I became interested in trying to create an experience rather than merely an account of an event."

Her impressionistic prints are a hybrid of photography and watercolour. Instead of printing slides on conventional photographic paper, Schreiber has the images made into large format giclee prints. The process involves converting a photograph into a digital file that can be printed from a very high-tech inkjet printer using water-based inks and watercolour papers. The results are so painterly that most viewers who saw the work at the Carnegie Gallery in Dundas last year couldn't believe they were looking at photographs.

But gallery goers aren't the only ones to be taken a back there's an element of surprise for Schreiber too in her creative process. "I can't predict the exact results. With multiple exposures, I release the shutter up to nine times on each slide. I'm always experimenting. There's a rush of adrenaline when I discover something interesting."

What interests her these days tends to be the natural world. As a child, Schreiber used to visit the Royal Botanical Gardens with her family each Sunday. Now she revisits such familiar places to try to capture something of their energy and beauty. While the resulting images typically have something recognizable such as a birch tree or wild grasses or purple irises at their visual centre, the familiar is imbued with a strong sense of movement and vitality-even a dreamlike quality.

For an artist in the early days of her career, Karen Schreiber is someone to watch out for. Her work has been called "Best of Show" in a recent Burlington Art Centre exhibition and has been among those selected (from 4300 entries) to an upcoming show at the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. -Jacqueline Larson

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