Meet Karin Wengenroth, the 2021-22 Fine Art Alumni Artist in Residence

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Thursday, September 16th, 2021

When Karin Wengenroth was a Fine Art student at PCA&D, her senior thesis centered on abstracted and contorted figure painting, she says, “oil for the most part, but also silkscreening and soft sculpture.”

Now the 2017 graduate is back on campus as the 2021-22 Fine Art Alumni Artist in Residence. She’s working out of the same light-filled fourth-floor corner that, coincidentally, housed her senior studio — but this time, she says, things are a little different.

“I’m not so much trying to pick up where I left off as explore what feels like a new medium,” says Wengenroth. During her residency, she says, she hopes to concentrate more on printmaking, and “to create work that uses ‘me’ as my only reference, to be really personal rather than removed and reserved” with the art she creates.

Wengenroth is the College’s second Fine Art Alumni Artist in Residence, following Jason Herr in 2019-20. The program was put on hold during last year’s pandemic restrictions.

2021-22 Fine Art Alumni Artist in REsidence Karin Wengenroth closeup of hands

A closeup of 2021-22 Fine Art Alumni Artist in Residence Karin Wengenroth at work.

‘Back in the art mode’

Wengenroth was eager to apply for the residency when it was announced last spring, she says. It was a chance to put art back in the center of her day to day life, to have access to equipment to pursue printmaking, to be immersed in a community of creative minds, and to have studio space where she can clear her mind and focus.

“I couldn’t not take this opportunity to go back into art mode,” she says, “to go back and develop that printmaking sensibility. It’s nice to have it be the focus (of my time) and not a side project — sometimes you’ve really just got to get the gunk out and ‘unstick’ the art flow, feeling it all out, figuring out the process and the concepts I want to pursue.”

2021-22 Fine Art Alumni Artist in REsidence Karin Wengenroth

2021-22 Fine Art Alumni Artist in Residence Karin Wengenroth

As part of her residency, Wengenroth will be spending a great deal of time around the senior Fine Art cohort: Not only will she be using the same workspaces they do, but her studio is right in the middle of the studio spaces set aside for senior Fine Art majors.

She remembers her own senior studio time as “a good chaos,” with her fellow Fine Art majors a tight-knit group always on hand for critique “and very much involved in what the others were doing … we were so focused, we grew so much in a short period of time.”

It is, she laughs, “kind of intimidating” to be back in that atmosphere of concentrated creativity again, but adds that “once I meet (the Fine Art seniors), I hope they all feel welcomed in my studio.”