Kari Reardon

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What Is My Work About? 

My fantastical sculptures are hybrids inspired by the shift in the way that we use bodies to communicate through technology. Thumbs are replacing our tongues and forming new languages through our social media-centric world of constant communication, via texting, Facebook, Twitter and instant messaging. Technology, changes the way we relate, identify, communicate/miscommunicate. By distorting the inherent meaning of found objects and shifting scale, I play with constructs and identity to point to the absurdity of our ever growing virtual experience. I conjoin dreams, childhood memories, and pop culture references in a somewhat dark and humorous way to point to the surreal existence of our technological new norm.


Artist Statement

Technology and social media are altering the ways in which we live our lives and relate to people. My work is about the gap between our tactile visceral bodies and the ever-expanding virtual world. The technological shift into our increasingly social media-centric society and how it has changed the way we communicate/miscommunicate, relate to one another, play with our identity, and use our thumbs is central to my work.

Within my practice I combine and twist concepts and materials into new forms and possibilities. I use humor in creating fantastical hybrids by synthesizing a mixture of my dreams, childhood memories, pop culture, and archetypal symbols. Creating work that pushes to the edge of the absurd, I strive to represent the ironies of our relationships with others and the rest of the world. The peculiar ideologies surrounding notions of success, failure, power, identity, and desire often serve as the building blocks.

Thumbs have become the signifier for humanity within my sculptures. They are what tell us apart from other animals. A thumb’s print carries the mark of personal identification; and thumbs are slowly replacing our tongues, forming new languages through our world of constant communication, via texting, Facebook, Twitter and instant messaging. Thumbs, now our primary facilitator, control much of our small talk, and through this, our relationships and concepts of “keeping in touch” with people are changing.

Along with thumbs, long nails have become a recurring symbol. These nails started as a reexamination of the ideals instilled in me during my childhood, mixed with the absurdities found in the western world’s economy of desire. They also relate to ideas of self-control, sexuality, attraction/repulsion, and image. When I was young my grandfather would bribe me with a $100 bill to stop biting my nails, to look like a “real lady.” Beyond practicality, are long nails what real ladies need?

The inherent meanings within objects, along with the scale and color choices of my work, are very important. For it is through this kinesthetic and visual experience that the viewer directly relates to the work in non-verbal terms. Metaphorically and literally, I often enlarged and heighten aspects of the work in an attempt to suspend the viewer’s reality and create a believable, tactile fusion of ideas.  “Nude, with horse”, like many of my pieces, stems from a combination of things: a recurring dream I had; the memories of my sister’s My Little Pony collection; and questions of how I could contemporize a wildlife statue. I wanted the ponies to be the natural size of a real miniature pony. The nine-foot sculpture is a kind of coming-of-age piece, commenting on the formidable years when one projects and acts life out through childhood toys. This sculpture, though separate from the counterculture of the Brony movement (a primarily online fan club for boys and men who are fans of the My Little Pony cartoon), shares many of their ideas and ideals. These life size toys blur the lines of sexual identity, and put to question cultural ideas of gender and role-playing.

Learning new materials, experimenting and playing with found objects and finishes has always been an important part of my process. “Siri”, comes from my uncomfortably brief stint of attempting to date online. It is like a run-on sentence that keeps shifting and compiling information as the viewer moves about the piece. Two combined, enlarged, slick and sparkly blue thumbs project out from a satellite dish, like legs spread in a wide open split. The crotch of the thumb speaks to our world of excess and upgrades: a sexually charged, built-in cup holder is plugged with an unopened can of Tecate. Soft silicone and flesh-like long nails are cast with a split, ergonomic keyboard that decorates the ends of the fingers. Around the backside of the piece is a carpal-tunnel wrist brace wrapped on the main support. The use of technology, old and new, illustrates the ways that these tools are shaping our communication and how we use our bodies. In “Siri” I reversed the appropriate finishes and textures of the body with the nails to highlight the awkward, vulnerable yet alluring sci-fi foreign nature of looking and being looked at on an online profile. Could our constant communication, and our desire to be seen be detrimental to us?

I feed off of the humorous (sometimes dark) complexities and inherent meanings within the objects and materials I blend together. “#Powerselfie” is a four-foot round steel platform with pulsating blue LED lights illuminating the symbol for electronic power, paired with a 30-inch mirrored security dome suspended directly overhead. As the title suggests people are invited to stand on the piece, look up into their reflection to take and post images of themselves. Spotlighting today’s juxtaposition of the obsessive need to post images of one’s self or check-in on a social media platform, while fear and outrage over who controls online privacy and surveillance are continuous news. This piece instigates and calls to question the exact thing it is made for.

In my piece “Nature/Nurture, Alarm/Allure” I play off of the ways in which our new gadgets and products not only affect and alter how we live, but change the surrounding environment. The sculpture plays a 30-second loop every 15 minutes from a car siren which is installed high in a corner of a room like a security system. The loop is a series of mockingbird calls I collected from outside my bedroom window. The single male birds sing out to try and find a mate in the middle of the night. The birds are known for picking up sounds in their environment, including mimicking the sounds of car alarms. I re-edited the mimicked bird sounds back into the commonly known car alarm sequence. I am fascinated by how we develop our new sounds, and how our ideas of alarms have been re-appropriated by nature into a call for love.

In my art and practice I strive to continue to expand on what Ferdinand De Saussure once wrote.  He believed that artists are the cultural synthesizers and that, “art is fundamentally an exploration of the possibilities of experience, a questioning of the categories in and through which we ordinarily view ourselves and the world.”





  • MFA, The California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA


  • Spring semester, Studio Arts Center International, Florence, Italy


  • BFA, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois




  • “Faculty Focus”, West Gallery, Northridge, CA


  • “Winning”, Thesis Exhibition in Gallery D301, The California Institute of the Arts , Valencia, CA



  • “Outpost”, Outpost Projects, Yucca Valley, CA


  • “Summer Arts Festival”, Wassaic Projects, Wassaic, NY
  • “Watchmen: Surveillance and The Flaneur”, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA
  • “Spilt Milk”, Armory Ctr. For the Arts, Pasadena, CA
  • “Amazon Solitaire”, Center for Arts, Eagle Rock, CA
  • “Aftertaste”, Grand Central Market, Los Angeles, CA


  • “Open Video Night”, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA
  • “Night Dive”, Long Beach Pacific Aquarium, Long Beach, CA
  • “What’s In Store”, Gallery Sonja Roesch, Houston, TX
  • “Art Santa Fe”, Santa Fe, NM
  • “Post-it Show”, Giant Robot 2, Los Angeles, CA


  • “Artist as Traveler”, Hochschule Für Bildende Künste, Braunschweig, Germany
  • “Unit”, Gallery Sonja Roesch, Houston, TX
  • “Winning”, Calarts, Gallery D301, Valencia, CA
  • “Boom”, Sothern California MFA Invitational, Los Angeles, CA
  • “Below The Echo”, 1162 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
  • “Medicine Chest”, Lux Lighting, Sun Valley, CA


  • “Bling Blang”, Calarts L Gallery, Valencia, CA
  • “Open Ending”, The Farley Building, Los Angeles, CA
  • “Womanhouse”, The Main Gallery, Valencia, CA
  • “Mid-Res Exhibition”, D301 Gallery, Valencia, CA
  • “NAGAS”, Katherine Nash Gallery, Minneapolis, MN
  • “Circulate, Exchange: Nugget & Gravy”, UCLA Wright Gallery, Los Angeles, CA



  • “Fall Festival”, Skokie North Shore Sculpture Park, Skokie, IL
  • “13th Annual Arts Celebration” Franconia Sculpture Park, Shafer, MN
  • “Oxbow Off the Meadow”, Barn Gallery, Saugatuck, MI
  • “Stating The Obvious”, Oxbow school of Art Gallery, Saugatuck, MI


  • “Sculptures Dans La Ville”, ChalonsurSaône, ChalonsurSaône, France
  • “Sculpture 2009”, Josephine Sculpture Park, Frankfort, KT
  • “Best Summer Ever”, Oxbow School of Art Gallery, Saugatuck, MI
  • “12th Annual Arts Celebration”, Franconia Sculpture Park, Shafer, MN
  • “Waste In Transition”, McKnight Foundation, Minneapolis, MN


  • “Le Cheminement de Sculptures”, Gigondas, France
  • “Street Level Sculpture”, Grounds For Art, Cedar Rapids, IA
  • “ArtWise, Soo Visual Arts Center”, Minneapolis, MN
  • “Now Or Never”, Now Or Never Gallery, St. Paul, MN
  • “Renewal”, Gallery 122, Minneapolis, MN
  • “Fall Festival”, Alexis Bailly Vineyard, Hastings, MN
  • “55408”, Intermedia Arts, Minneapolis, MN
  • “Unconvention”, PV Plaza, Minneapolis, MN
  • “Sculpture 2008”, Red Wing Depot Gallery, Red Wing, MN
  • “Art Shanty Projects”, Intermedia Arts, Minneapolis, MN


  • “Sculpture, La Vie Des Formes”, ChalonsurSaône, France
  • “2007 MN Juried Show”, Fine Art Center, St.Paul, MN
  • “2007 Sculpture”, Red Wing Depot Gallery, Red Wing, MN
  • “Art Shanty Projects”, Medicine Lake, Plymouth, MN
  • “55408”, Intermedia Arts, Minneapolis, MN


  • “Loaded”, Marshall Arts Gallery, Minneapolis, MN
  • “Annual Arts and Music Festival”, Franconia Sculpture Park, Shafer, MN
  • “Start Seeing Art”, Nicollett Mall IDS Tower, Minneapolis, MN
  • “Art Shanty Projects”, Medicine Lake, Plymouth, MN


  • “Version Fest”, The Stray Show, Zhou B Center, Chicago, IL
  • “Sculpture 2005”, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT
  • “2nd Invitational Show”, Northrop King Building, Minneapolis, MN
  • “Grant Recipients”, MN State Arts Board, Saint Paul, MN
  • “55408”, Intermedia Arts, Minneapolis, MN
  • “Art Shanty Projects”, Medicine Lake, Plymouth, MN


  • “56 Arrowhead Biennial”, Duluth Art Institute, Duluth, MN
  • “Hot House’04”, Soap Factory, Minneapolis, MN
  • “Small Kindnesses”, Hiawatha Light Rail, Minneapolis, MN
  • “Sculptors Society”, Foss Gallery, Edina, MN


  • “Holiday Show”, Creative Electric Gallery, Minneapolis, MN
  • “Sculpture Now”, Gallery 5, Minneapolis, MN



  • “Sculptors Society”, Art Holdings, Minneapolis, MN.
  • “55408”, Intermedia Arts, Minneapolis, MN.
  • “The Figure Show”, Minnetonka Ctr for the Arts, Wayzata, MN.


  • “55408”, Intermedia Arts, Minneapolis, MN.


  • “Staff Exhibition”, Perpich Ctr. for Arts Ed., Golden Valley, MN.


  • “Bronze Sculpture”, Minnetonka Ctr. for the Arts, Wayzata, MN.


  • “Sculpture”, Artworks Foundry, Berkeley, CA.
  • “Senior Thesis Show”, SAIC 847, Chicago, IL.
  • “Tangent”, Hammer Design, Chicago, IL.


  • “Cirque”, SACI Studios, Florence, Italy


  • “Repels and Resists”, SAIC Base Space Gallery, Chicago, IL.


  • “Peep-show”, SAIC Atrium Gallery, Chicago, IL.
  • “Art Bash”, SAIC Gallery 2, Chicago, IL.


  • “Scholastics Art”, MCAD Gallery, Minneapolis, MN.
  • “Media Arts 1995”, Crosscreek Gallery, Wayzata, MN.


  • “1994 Festival”, Wired Film Festival, San Francisco, CA.
  • “Shared Space 6”, Southern Theater Gallery, St. Paul, MN.




  • Artist Fellowship, Can Serrat Residency, Spain
  • Deans Grant, California Institute of the Arts, CA


  • Academic Scholarship, California Institute of the Arts, CA


  • Artist Grant, Franconia Sculpture Park, MN
  • Artist Grant, Forecast Public Art, MN


  • Artist Fellowship, Grounds For Art, IA.


  • Artist Fellowship, La Vie Des Formes, France


  • Open Studio Artist, Franconia Sculpture Park, MN.
  • Artist Fellowship, Art Shanty Projects, MN.


  • Arts Initiative Grant , State Arts Board, MN
  • Artist Grant, Vermont Studio Center, VT


  • Merit Scholarship Award, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago


  • Scholastics Art Awards (3), Minnesota College of Art and Design


  • Wired Film Festival, San Francisco, CA.



  • City of Chalon Sur-Soane, Chalon Sur-Soane, France
  • City of Medicine Lake, Medicine Lake, MN
  • Hiawatha Light Rail, Minneapolis, MN
  • Gallery 122, Minneapolis, MN



2012                           Can Serrat, Mont-Serrat Spain

2009                           Franconia Sculpture Park, Minneaota

2007                           La Vie Des Formes, Chalon Sur-Soane, France

2006                           Franconia Sculpture Park, Minnesota

2005                           Mills Studio and Residency, Edmonton, Canada

2005                           The Vermont Studio Center, Vermont



2010, 2011               Oxbow School of Art, Saugatuck MI

2009                           University of Minnesota, Minneapolis MN

2009                           Saint Catherine University, Saint Paul MN

2009, 2005               Franconia Sculpture Park, Shaffer MN

2007                           College of Visual Arts, Saint Paul MN

2005                           Vermont Studio Center, Johnson VT



2014               November 2014, Pacific Dissent Collective, pg. 16

2014               Watchmen: Surveillance & The Flaneur Exhibition Catalog, Torrance Art Museum

2012               mmxii, CALARTS MFA graduate exhibition catalog

2011               Circulate, exchange: nugget & gravy, UCLA exhibition catalog, pg. 18

2011               Graphite interdisciplinary Journal of the Arts, Hammer Museum/UCLA, pg. 68-70, 110

2009               La Vie Des Formes 2003-2008, pg. 100-103 ,110,111,136,139

2009               Le Journal de la Ville de Chalon-sur-Soane 9/18/09 pg 5, 9/23/09 pg 21

2009               http://forum.lesenclumes.net/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=396

2009               Le Journal De Saonet-et-loire, Lejsl.com, September 11. article 1964261,1502.

2007               Architecture Minnesota, July/August pg. 21

2007               Midwest Home, February pg. 24



2012 Fall-Present   Part Time lecturer, Adjunct Professor, California State University Northridge, CA

classes include; 3-D Design and Advanced level Bronze Casting Sculpture.

2014-Present           Model Shop Technician, Art Center School of Design, Pasadena CA

2014 -2015                Practicum Welding Workshop, Visiting Artist, California Institute of the Arts, CA

2012-Fall                  Teaching Assistant- Modes of Operation, The California Institute of the Arts

2012-Spring             Teaching Assistant- Beginning Sculpture, The California Institute of the Arts

2009-2010                 Metals Sculpture Shop Technician, Oxbow School of Arts & Residency, MI

2005                           Welding Workshop Teacher, Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council

2004                           Metals Casting Workshop, The Anderson Center For Art


2003                          Metals Casting Workshop, Minnetonka Center for the Arts

2001-2009                Kids Wood Sculpture Workshop Teacher, Franconia Sculpture Park, MN

2001-2003                Assistant Media Arts Teacher, The Perpich Ctr. For Arts Education, MN



2013-2014                Artist Assistant, Metal Fabricator for Oscar Tuazon Studios

2011-2013                 Artist Assistant, Metal Fabricator, Paul McCarthy Studio

2013                           Artist Assistant, [de]-lusions of Grandeur performance at LACMA, Liz Glynn

2001-2005               Artist Assistant, Blue Ribbon Bronze Studio, Minneapolis, MN

2000 -1999               Assistant Sculptor- Chief Hair Inserter, San Francisco Wax Museum