Karen Donnellan

Karen Donnellan

Alfred, NY, USA


Karen Donnellan is an Irish-born, artist, writer and educator based in Alfred, New York. She received a Bachelors of Design from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin and an MFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology, NY. She is a past board member of the Glass Art Society. Karen has exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including the Irish Museum of Contemporary Art, Traver Gallery, WA, and the Burchfield Penney Art Center, NY. She has participated in artist residencies at Pilchuck Glass School, the Toledo Museum of Art and Edinburgh College of Art. In 2016 she presented "Arc", a solo exhibition of new work at Kitchen Table Gallery, Philadelphia, PA. Karen is Assistant Professor of Sculpture and Glass and Co-Director of the National Casting Center at the New York State College of Ceramics, Alfred University, NY.

Karen Donnellan's transdisciplinary practice is concerned with illustrating that which cannot be physically held.

She makes objects and installations that, paradoxically, evoke the intangible essence of things. While she uses a wide range of media, glass and sound are central to this endeavour. Glass captures light; sound captures vibration. Both mediums speak the language of the mystical.

For Donnellan, art lies at the nexus of light and energy. Glass is one of few materials that can hold facture in stasis. It is this temporary state that lends itself to ideas surrounding the mystical and mythical traditions from which she draws her imagery and bases her conceptual practice.

Central to her imagery is the circle—a universal symbol and a symbol of the universe. The circle is also a recurring motif as an invocation of the Divine Feminine. Her practice engages with a politically fraught world through works that envelop the viewer visually and acoustically.


  • glassblower
  • casting
  • kilnforming


Business Name:

Alfred University
2 Pine St.
Alfred, NY 14802