Karen Hampton: Shape Shifter

24 November - 8 December 2017

Private view: Thursday 23 November 2017, 6 - 8 pm


Jack Bell Gallery is pleased to present a new body of work by Los Angeles based contemporary artist Karen Hampton. In her second solo show with the gallery, Hampton continues to explore how the African Diaspora has spread cultures around the world. ‘Shape Shifter’ looks at the expressive power of West and Central African textile, its ability to transfer magic and act as conduit from gods and ancestry to the dark days of slavery.


Karen Hampton draws on her multicultural heritage to examine the complicated history of America, replete with dreams of freedom and loss resulting from displacement. By employing the traditional arts of hand-stitching and weaving, as well as materials such as indigo, cotton, and raffia cloth that allude to African American culture, Hampton embeds her work with symbols, images, and text that chronicle the stories of her ancestors. Her incisively poignant work speaks to the broader struggle to find one’s own voice and identity in the United States today.


‘Karen Hampton: The Journey North’, Wellin Museum of Art, USA


Hampton was born in 1958, Los Angeles, USA, where she continues to live and work. The artist has been included in exhibitions at the Honolulu Museum of Art, California State University, Muskegon Museum of Art, Michigan, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, and San Jose Museum among others. Awards include the Sacatar Foundation Award, the Fleishhacker Foundation Eureka Fellowship, Marin Arts Council Award, and the Ellen Hansen Memorial Prize. Hampton graduated with an MFA from the University of California, Davis.