05/2015, Goodwill (Round Rock, Palm Valley Blvd)
An early piece that presages the growing Dabist movement, (Teardrop Nativity) uses motes of color in a rough pointillist effect to suggest…what? The mottled, almost wet surface and the teardrop shape implies a moment caught reflected in a drop of water, an immediacy of moment as of a photograph before the drop descends. The starburst overhead and the points of white light against the night sky imply a light in the darkness, the walls of the teardrop framing the holy family in a safe space. The claustrophobic space and the simplistic and abstract nature of the work suggest that Mary and Joseph are watched by thousands—angels, the untold generations of the future, massed in a crowd behind and around them.
The simplest interpretation is that the teardrop shape is inspired by a Christmas ornament, perhaps a glass ball in which snowflakes swirl around this nativity scene. But Karen’s abstracted and bold style suggests any number of potential stories—in that regard, quite like the child at the heart of the image.