Karen Schiff


This exposition reflects on the drawings I was making at different stages during the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially they are compared to my long-term practice of making abstract drawings patterned on language, and then they are used to theorize a “poetics of transmission.” This framework is discussed in relation both to how the virus is transmitted and to how ideas are created and circulated. Various analytical interpretations of the drawings are considered. At some moments, I treat dots in the drawings like ideas or virus particles; at other moments, the strategies I use for connecting the dots represent the process of generating ideas. The drawings become tools for the “research” of thinking through physical and intellectual contagion.


Karen Schiff is an artist, writer, editor, and educator who explores intersections between art and language and the visual depiction of palpable space. Currently she is a critic in residence at the Core Program of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where she is continuing to pursue a long-term project of reinterpreting Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. Her drawings have been shown in the U.S., Iceland, and Spain, and her writings have been published in the U.S., the U.K, and France. In 2016, she presented at the Society for Artistic Research annual conference in The Hague.