Karen Savage is a practitioner of the photo-based process known as the photogram. It is camera-less photography in which the end result looks something like an x-ray. Savage also collects vintage clothing and accessories, and melds both interests by making photograms of individual pieces of clothing and textiles. Fabric is a compelling medium to use in the process, as clothing has varying degrees of translucence and opacity.
For the current show, Savage looks to religion and the spirituality of the missing body to complete her visual drama. This is loosely autobiographical reflecting Savage's upbringing as a Catholic during the 1950's. The Seven Sacraments are images of garments and accoutrements referring to one of seven rites particular to the historical Christian Church. They are Baptism, Penance, Holy Communion, Confirmation, Matrimony, Holy Orders, and Extreme Unction (the last rites). In each image the body is emptied from the object and suspended as a symbol of the ritual of each sacrament, its only remaining trace. Specific attire is a customary part of the receipt of most of the sacraments, with the most common being the wedding dress. Some of the pictures are literal representations; others are more interpretive, using images of lace collars or gloves. In all of these images though, the body is absent; the dresses and accessories are the remaining physical suggestion referring to it's mysterious and unknown past. Each of these is rich in suggestion and can mean different things to disparate viewers. One can still be an atheist though, and see the power in Savage's art.
This is Savage's third solo show with the gallery.