Starting in the Tang Dynasty(618-907) in China finally banned in 1912, although some continued to practice this in secret, foot binding was done to young girls as it was considered an attractive quality and used to distinguish upper class to raise the prospects of marrying well . From as young as 4 years old their feet were broken and toes forced under the foot into the sole of the foot and bound. Big toe facing forward and 4 smaller toes forced under the foot restricting any further growth. The ideal size was 7-10.2cm!! My painting depicts the exact size on the horse to highlight how small they were. The horse is present as when these poor women walked they had tiny little steps and often looked and sounded like a horse. They were also known as golden lotus after the central life symbol of Buddhism, thus I have represented that in her hair.
Suffering for beauty is a concept familiar to most women, who have dyed, plucked or shaved their hair, squeezed their feet into uncomfortable high heels or even surgically enhanced parts of their anatomy. Millions of Chinese women went to great extremes to torture their body as we still do today.
About the Artist
Karen’s style is expressionism-distortion, inspired by artists such as Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Modigliani and Picasso. She has collectors locally, nationally, and internationally over her 20-year art career.
Expressionism isn’t for everyone and I enjoy the quirky, unusual and weirdness of life which I think you can see in my work. In my early years I was a punk and that mentality still sits with me the non-conformity etc. I want to make people talk, sometimes shock but mostly smile and laugh when they view my work. You won’t find me painting landscapes I need to have an opinion.
This drive for bucking the system stems from her love of punk music and her thirst for the unusual, which in turn creates disruption and gives people the invitation to view life through a different lens. She leaves stories half told on a canvas to make an impression and invite the observer to create their own story about what they see.