Inspired by the Southern coastal landscape near her studio in Charleston, Karin Olah uses hand-dyed and vintage fabrics, along with gouache paint, pencil, and pastel to create beautiful, multi-layered paintings. A beach lover, traveler, and mother, Olah’s imagery comes from summers on the South Fork of Long Island, quick visits to local beaches and Kiawah Island, and views from her daughters’ favorite playgrounds along the Charleston harbor.
Born and raised in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Olah combines her interest in quilt making, a BFA in Fiber Art from Maryland Institute College of Art, a background in fashion design in NYC, and an ever-growing fabric collection to add layers of texture, depth, and color to her work. Olah is the 2015 recipient of the Griffith/Reyburn Lowcountry Artist of the Year Award. Her work has been featured in Elements of Style Blog, Charleston Magazine, and American Contemporary Art Magazine. Find her work at http://KarinOlah.com .
I abstract the coastal landscape into stacked water, layers of sky, and stripes of turquoises, blues, foamy greens, and marsh-grass golds. Some of the layers are paint, some are fabric. I adhere the textile layers with an archival rice starch - it’s tricky and time-consuming - but I like the result. From a distance, the painting has a depth in color and texture. Up close, you can see the hand-dyed cotton, linen, and silk. Fabric has a load of memories that come with it. It’s something we can all connect with.