Karen King’s Psychological Portraits

“Through a series of studies of the human head I am attempting to convey psychological states, emotions beneath the surface and the fragility of the human condition.

As I tend to paint repetitively, compulsively even, I am also exploring Sigmund Freud’s Theory of Repetition Compulsion, otherwise known as the Death Drive.

In this theory Freud felt that the act of repetition was directly linked to the urge to cease existing, and with each act of repetitive behaviour we act out our desire to go back to a pre-living state, a desire to cease to exist.

My conclusion from my research and practice tells me that repetition in art is not static, not destructive as it does push one through to the new, to life in the present, no matter how temporary that may be for all of us.

When asked about the darkness in his work Francis Bacon said that ‘if you have a strong feeling for life, its shadow death is always with you too’

I think that artists who work in a repetitive manner may have a stronger need to reconnect to what is human, to express the futility of life in the hope of connecting with others, so that life is no longer futile.

The poet W. H. Auden likened the process of making a work of art as ‘breaking bread with the dead’, and I am attempting to create paintings that express what it is to be alive and what it is to die.”

You can follow Karen on Twitter: @kkingartist

Many thanks to Karen for supplying me with the images and text for this post.


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