Karen Koestner Barrow Bio

Born in Detroit, Barrow grew up in East Lansing, Michigan, and now lives and works in Naples, FL.

An award winning artist as a teen, Barrow began painting in 2001 after raising her three children.  She then attended Ringling College of Art & Design where her painting was included in “The Best of Ringling” juried show.  She worked as an Associate Curator and Art Director for Naples area galleries while continuing to paint full time in her studio.  Her work evolved from primitive figures to mixed media collage and bold paintings.

Pulling inspiration from her upbringing in the auto-manufacturing hub of Mid- Michigan and family weekends spent at Sebring International Raceway, Barrow’s work focuses on the relationship between people and cars.  Her work layers images from vintage auto brochures, her own photographs, stencils, paint, mediums and sometimes auto parts.  Combining the best of digital photography and the gestural movement of the Abstract Expressionists, Barrow creates her own Digital Expressionism.  She layers and scrapes clear mediums and paint on her digital images, allowing chance to play an important role in her process.

Her work encourages the discovery of both automotive and personal history.  Memories of the first car you drove, the one you took to homecoming, the one you saw taking the checkered flag…these machines tell the story of one’s life.  People, places and one’s individual history are associated with the automobiles that we owned, loved, desired or fantasized about.  In turn, these machines become historical touch stones.  Memories from decades ago or yesterday are intertwined with the metal and glass of an automobile.