"Pareidolic Figure"
"Reflective Response"
"Micorrhizal Home"
"Through the Mantle"
"Earth Embrace"
"Symbiotic Colony"
"Golden Column"
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"Over Understory", monotype and augmented reality
"Split", monotype, goldleaf with augmented reality
"Shadow Connection"
"Super Power"
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Member Portfolio

Karen Hunter McLaughlin

Philadelphia, PA


Artist Statement

Traveling through layers (of time, space, attention, matter, and energy), my work is a layered manifestation of metaphysical depth. Rust– an exemplification of earth, age, and deterioration– is often used as an agitator medium. Its beautiful blemish creates a perfect base for further investigation.

My recent work expands on long-held interests in the connections between natural science and art. I’m currently exploring a fascination with the mycorrhizal network – the symbiotic association between trees and fungi. I’m drawn to these networks’ mystery and boundless synergies, how they invisibly share what the other lacks– how they rescue each other. This work investigates kinship with the more-than-human world, and a dive into “Ki”, Robin Wall Kimmerer’s suggested pronoun for other-than-human. Employing a language of shapes that mimic the threadlike hyphae of mycelium, these same marks are also used to illustrate galactic space, brain synapses, and other human, and non-human body systems. They are perfect symbols of the matrixes that support the essential nexus of human connection.

Through augmentation of some of my work, I aim to free elements, transcending the immovable properties of 2D art. In creating a sensory experience for the work, my intention is to spark awe and wonder at the beauties and mysteries of nature. All augmented reality (AR) is created and viewed with the freely distributed Artivive App.

Artist Biography

Karen Hunter McLaughlin is a lifelong Philadelphia artist who has worked in traditional 2-D mediums as well as steel wire sculpture, and digital new media. She is currently exploring the fine art of monotype and the spontaneous, corrosive properties of rust. Her work is often developed across a surface in cascading or ascending layers that represent movement, bespeaking the passage of time. Karen introduced new media work in augmented reality during a six month artist residency at Cheltenham Center for the Arts in 2021. Through this augmentation I aim to free elements, transcending the immovable properties of 2D art. In creating a sensory experience to the work, my intention is to spark awe and wonder at the beauties and mysteries of nature.

Karen has been a member of Artessa Alliance, a women’s artist cooperative since 2007. She has been a lead member of the group since 2016 and has curated several of the group’s exhibitions.

She has exhibited extensively in the Philadelphia tri-state area, and throughout the United States. Her work is held in many private collections as well as in permanent collections at Einstein Medical Center Montgomery, East Norriton, PA, and Mission First Projects at Union Eagle Apartments in Bordentown New Jersey, and MBP Apartments in Philadelphia, PA. Karen’s art has also been included in several publications including Philadelphia Stories and Extraordinary Gifts, Remarkable Women of the Delaware Valley.

Karen was founder and director of KM Digital Design, a graphic and website design and development company from 2010 to 2023.


2017 - 2020
Cheltenham Center for the Arts, Cheltenham, PA
Multilayered Printmaking - Nicole Dul

Cheltenham Center for the Arts, Cheltenham, PA
Book/Printmaking - Erin Tohill Robin

2002 - 2005
Kate Wolf Workshops, Portland Maine
Wire Tinkering - Ellen Wieske, Deputy Director Haystack Mountain School of Craft

1977 - 1981
Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Elkins Park, PA


Art Watch Radio Podcast Interview with Rebecca Shultz & Guest Host Constance McBride, Artessa Alliance Reinvention, May 27, 2020

"The Whitman Effect", Hunter Ghosts: Feminine Tree 1865 image included as part of Whitman at 200, Art and Democracy celebration, 2019

"Portrait of the Artist as an Entrepreneur", Interview with Melissa Tevere for Drexel University’s Close School of Entrepreneurship, Ladies Who Launch, April 18, 2019

Trimble, Lynn. "Precious/Unprecious- Here’s the Best Art We Saw in Metro Phoenix in December 2017", Phoenix News Times, December 29, 2017

"Extraordinary Gifts, Remarkable Women of the Delaware Valley," March 1, 2014.
Editors: Melissa Tevere, Carla Spataro, Tara S. Smith and Courtney Bambrick

Heidenry, Rachel, "Collaboration is the basis for anti-violence project, One Year, at the Rotunda," The Art Blog, September 16, 2013

Dribben, Melissa, "In Art, Mothers Find Way to Deal with Losing a Child", Philadelphia Inquirer, September 7, 2013

One Year, Radio Interview, WHYY Newsworks, Interview by Yowei Shaw

Rosenberg, Amy S. "Images to Soothe", Philadelphia Inquirer, September 28, 2012

“Antithetical Mutation”, drawing featured in Philadelphia Stories Magazine, Summer 2012


Artessa Alliance
Lead Member


Cheltenham Center for the Arts

Lectures and Talks

Artivive Augmented Reality Show and Tell: Juan Pablo Medina and Karen Hunter McLaughlin

Augmented Reality Video Links

Over Understory, Multilayer Monotype Print with Augmented Reality

Split, Multilayer Monotype with Augmented Reality

Interrupt OverUnderstory Sample SD 480p

Shadow Connections- Artivive Augmented Reality

Superpower - Artivive Augmented Reality


Find full exhibition history here


Golden Thread, Winter Solo Series at Abington Art Center, Abington, PA

Over-Understory, Cheltenham Center for the Arts, Cheltenham, PA

Kinship, High School Park, Elkins Park, PA
Augmented Reality Installation


Matter and Energy, Biennial Exhibition with the Artist Collaborative Artessa Alliance, Cheltenham Center for the Arts, Cheltenham, PA

Crafting Nature, InLiquid Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Interconnection, Awbury Arboretum, Philadelphia, PA

Annual Juried Exhibition, Abington Art Center, Jenkintown, PA
Juror: Riley Strong

Group Exhibition, OCJAC Gallery, Philadelphia, P
Juror: Leah Appleton

Monitor & Adjust, Clay on Main, Oley, PA

Ebb & Flow, PII Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Apart:Together, Artessa Alliance at Cheltenham Center for the Arts, Cheltenham, PA

Artists in the Time of Coronavirus: An Ongoing Virtual Exhibition, The Art Blog, Virtual Exhibition

American Color Print Society, On the Wall, Philadelphia Plastic Club, Virtual Exhibition

Women's Caucus for Art Philadelphia, Virtual First Friday Exhibition

Small Favors XV, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA
Juror: Leila Cartier

New Now III, InLiquid Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Weathered, Five Themes Project Exhibit, Manifest Gallery, Cincinnati, OH

Printmaking, Thinking in Reverse, Chester County Art Association Invitational, West Chester Galleries of the Chester County Art Association, West Chester, PA

Awards & Honors

Cheltenham Center for the Arts Print Residency

CCA 80th Annual Member Show, Cheltenham Center for the Arts, Cheltenham, PA
Print Guild Award for Bloodline

CCA Print Guild Award in honor of Esther Rose Fisher for Dogwood Fall

Annual Juried Exhibition, Manayunk Roxborough Art Center, Philadelphia, PA
Honorable Mention Award

Philadelphia’s Mothers in Charge Peacemaker Award (with MamaCITA)


2012 - 2013
Leeway Foundation, Art and Change
Two grants: January 2012-December 2013, March 2013-December 2013

HatchFund (Formerly USAProjects)
Artist Advocacy Grant


Mission First Housing Commission, Permanent Installations, 2811 West Sedgley Avenue, Philadelphia, PA

Looking Up at the Cosmos, Commissioned Collaborative Mural, Mission First Housing, Sedgely Street, Philadelphia, PA

Mission First Housing, Union Eagle Apartments, Permanent Installation, 1 Spring Street, Bordentown, NJ

Beginnings, Permanent Commissioned Installation, Einstein Medical Center Montgomery, East Norriton, PA


One Year, collaborative project funded by two Leeway Foundation AC grants (‘11, ‘13)

Two Installations; The Rotunda (a Philadelphia FringeArts project), Philadelphia, PA, and Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia, PA

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