Karen Yank has established herself as one of the most collectible sculptors in the U.S. She has been commissioned to complete some of the largest public sculptural works in the Southwest, and her sculpture has been exhibited in numerous museums. Yank’s mentor was the great contemporary artist Agnes Martin, who is well known for her minimalist grid paintings and drawings composed of horizontal and vertical lines. Yank adopted the circle, a shape mimicking the curve where the earth meets the sky, as her more organic signature shape. The circle is all-encompassing, eternal symbol of nature, and one Yank loves to juxtapose with her industrial metal materials.
The primary focus of my work is on non-verbal communication and emotional nuances that are unspoken. I strive to express a context that can be understood in a moment, but with layers that can be seen for those who pause. I try to reveal an organic nature with a sense of history, using a material that is usually cold and industrial. Every weld and grind mark is an intentional decision. I attempt to reflect a beauty that can only be found in the organic.
I like to incorporate circular images with intersecting lines into my sculptural works, because of their rich thematic relevance found throughout history. The circle and cross are one of the earliest symbols seen in human cultural development, dating back to the Stone Age. Circles reference all that is natural; such as the sun, moon, earth, cycles of life, time, and repetition. I often use the circle to represent the notion of unity. The “X” reflects transit themes of crossing, intersecting, joining, and marking a point in time or space. Also, I use the two symbols combined as a show of affection for the world as a whole. Karen Yank