For more than two decades, Karen Glaser has been photographing underwater ecosystems, including deep water oceans, coastal reefs, freshwater springs, outdoor swimming pools, and wild swamplands. Taking her camera both above and below the surface of America’s coastal waters and Florida’s wetlands, she has captured diverse forms of life that have existed since prehistoric times.
Dozens of local art enthusiasts have seen Glaser's images at Florida Gulf Coast University. FGCU has not one, but four of her photographs among their indoor public art collection.
Hundreds more took in her 2011 exhibition at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery (October 7 through December 3). The Mark of Water: Florida’s Springs and Swamps resulted in the highest attendance recorded by the gallery in two years. A touring exhibition organized and circulated by the Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona State College, Daytona Beach, Florida, The Mark of Water is now at the Anna Lamar Switzer Center for the Visual Arts in Pensacola, which named Glaser their 2013 Distinguished Artist (an honor they accorded to Christo and Jean-Claude in 2011). The exhibition goes next to Gainesville, where it will be hosted by the Harn Museum of Art from February 11 through July 6, 2014.
But area art lovers need not travel to Gainesville to get a glimpse of Glaser's unique slant on underwater topography. Glaser's photography will be included by Sanibel's Watson MacRae Gallery in its Landscapes: A Different View exhibition, which opens on February 11, 2014.
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Glaser holds a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA from Indiana University, Bloomington. She is an adjunct instructor of photography in Chicago and has been a guest lecturer at Wild Photos, Royal Geographical Society, London; the USF Humanities Institute (which hosted events celebrating the Hillsborough River through art, literature, history, archeology and ecology in the Fall of 2012); the May, 2013 Blue Mind 3 summit(an annual conference that brings together neuroscientists, oceanographers, explorers, educators and artists to consider "the human brain on water"); the Everglades National Park; Big Cypress National Preserve; Fanning Springs State Park; University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; Museum of Science, Miami; and Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History in California.
You can discover more about Glaser and her photography on Art Southwest Florida, which contains a profile of the artist and the four Glaser photographs that are included in Florida Gulf Coast University's public art collection.