Community Feature: Karen Krolak’s Dictionary of Negative Space

Karen Krolak was one of the artists who participated in the art show hosted in conjunction with Forum 2018: Humanities Approaches to the Opioid Crisis. She showed a pocket version of her Dictionary of Negative Space. This piece brought together some of the entries from her larger project in an effort to shed light on some of the unnameable emotions and experiences raised by the opioid crisis.

Since the show Karen’s dictionary project has expanded and is now available for purchase as a hard copy.

Karen has since also adapted the project and expanded on its themes through a variety of residencies, presentations, and performances. In May she was the first official artist in residence at the Newton Cemetery, funded by the Newton Cultural Council. This June she will be presenting a Field Guide to the First Year of Navigating Negative Space at the New Media Art Conference at the CICA Museum, Gimpo, S. Korea. Her knitting pattern, Modern Mourning Band to Make When Hearts Break, which employs entries from the Dictionary of Negative Space, will also be exhibited at the CICA Museum from August 30 to September 15, 2019.Krolak will participate in the 14th annual international conference on Social Context of Death, Dying, and Disposal in Bath, England from September 4-6, 2019 with an abstract presentation entitled, Amassing the Dictionary of Negative Space. In October she will participate in [59], an exhibit about how artist interact with the Newton Cemetery in collaboration with Sara Goldberg and Mary Ann Buras at the Newton Public Library in Newton, MA. Sometime this summer her collaborative book project with Nicole Harris documenting the process for creating [207] for NACHMO Boston’s concert at the Dance Complex in February 2020 will be touring the US as part of the Brooklyn Art Library’s Sketchbook Project Volume 14 tour.

We are grateful to have had Karen’s work right here in our office and are excited to see how this project continues to develop.

Previously the Dictionary of Negative Space has been presented at:

Artist and Location, CICA Museum, Gimpo, S. Korea – December 2018 

Finding Your Voice, Kelwood Contemporary Art, Baton Rogue, LA – August 2018

It has also received funding from an I-ARE residency at the Dance Complex in Cambridge, MA to present An Animated Edition of the Dictionary of Negative Space at the Dance Complex in Cambridge, MA on April 13 2019. Nicole Harris, Kim Holman, Samantha Mullen, Jason Ries, Jayne Murphy, Barry Duncan, Gillian De Lear, and Caleb Howe were collaborators and David Wechsler and Hank Wonder gave [the artist] permission to use their music.