About M. Fortuna
I was raised on the Lynnhaven River in Virginia, at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. The ocean was always in the air.
My idea of fun was to find a fish, bury it, and dig it up weeks later. I was curious about what was happening to it underground. This was a very material kind of play…very keyed into observation and process. I would sometimes ask my mother to pick up a fish with organs intact at the market. I was fascinated with swim bladders, which allow fish to rise or sink in the water. She would bring me fish and I would go into the laundry room and cut them up.
I explored the river and its tidal margins and swamps alone… on foot, and in boats.
I come to the making of art from an idiosyncratic place. Trained as a biologist, I have worked in laboratories at Yale and Chapel Hill. I was a summer intern at Valley Forge Army Hospital in 1968, at the height of the Vietnam War. I have moved into the world of the naturalist observer as well as the maker of things. Keen to handle materials from paint to earth to found metal and smithereens (smashed automobile safety glass), I work the improbable boundaries between physical matter and spoken language.
My studio is something of a lab/shop/pharmacy/field station/library. I think of it as a boathouse.
SWANSQUARTER is a refuge for poets of all persuasions.
I invite you to join me there.
Karen Parker Lears is an artist who works under the name M. Fortuna.
She is an Associate Editor of Raritan: A Quarterly Review
To contact her, click here
For the article, A Conversation With Artist Karen Parker Lears (The Hedgehog Review, Summer 2010)
please click here.
Old Anglo Saxon word. I draw many meanings from this single word…related to illumination, sparking, and buoyancy.
I am exploring the deep materiality of light in these intimate pieces of poured gesso, paint, burnished with mica dust on Belgian linen.