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Home » Publications » Catalogue Excerpts » Bodies in Translation: Age and Creativity

Bodies in Translation: Age and Creativity

Karen Langlois

Artist Biography
Karen Langlois was born in 1955 in a small farming community in Ontario. After an unfortunate stint as a bank teller, she studied early childhood education and play therapy and spent twenty years working with children and families. She left that career to pursue studies at Toronto School of Art where she received the TSA Award for Creative Achievement.

Langloisí art practice encompasses altered books and altered clothing, collage, drawing, printmaking, constructions, installation and participatory art. She particularly enjoys using reclaimed books and textiles to explore the impact of stories on the construction of identity.

Since moving to Port Medway, Nova Scotia ten years ago, Langlois has devoted much of her time to exploring ways to create participatory, inclusive community art spaces.

She has exhibited her work in group shows in Port Medway, Annapolis Royal and Toronto as well as a solo show at The Black Duck Gallery in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

Artist Statement
Old books and textiles are central to my art practice. I am inspired by the marks left on them by the passage of time, as well as by the emotional associations they bring to my work.

A Story is an altered book created from a 1926 novel about a young woman who was adopted as an infant and is searching for the truth about her birth. She eventually finds her biological family as well as her future husband. The book ends, predictably, with her wedding. Her search for identity is over and her future is determined.

In my youth I believed that by the time I reached my mid-20s I would know, like the heroine in this story, who I was and where I was going. I believed that my life would be linear like a novel and that memories were constant. As Iíve grown older I have found that memory is fluid and that identity is continually recreated.

The alterations to this book are in part a simple homage to its beauty and history as a timeworn object. At the same time, A Story embodies my experience of the shifting and interweaving of narrative and memory throughout a lifetime. It comes out of an ongoing exploration of the nature of the stories I inhabit about who I am and where I have been.

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