August 6, 2014 - From home to studio. Karen invited me to join her on her daily walk to her studio that leads up through Westmount (where we sat to talk in a large park on a hill that overlooks the river) and then wanders down again to St-Henri. karen spoke about walking as a sense of freedom, but reflected on the ways that women’s bodies are controlled and monitored when in public. [Image/audio credit: Pohanna Pyne Feinberg]


karen elaine spencer (b. 1960) maintains a studio practice, performs, curates and writes. Oscillating between work in the street, exhibitions in galleries, and projects via the web, spencer questions hierarchies and investigates how we, as transient beings, occupy the world we live in. Since obtaining her MFA from the Université du Québec à Montréal in 2001 spencer has been awarded numerous international residency programs, including the Symposium international d’art contemporain in Baie-Saint-Paul (2015), the International Studio and Curatorial program in Brooklyn (2012), the Cité Internationale des arts de Paris (2005), and the John Snow House artist in residence in Calgary (2011). Recent exhibitions include letters home/lettres à ma mère, at Galerie B-312 in Montréal (2015), Coming to Terms at Little Berlin in Philadelphia (2015), New York Stories: Twenty Years of ISCP in Brooklyn (2014), and La moitié du monde est une femme at the Grande Bibliothèque in Montréal (2013). spencer’s work is held in the collections of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the Canada Council Art Bank, the Bibliotheque nationale du Québec, the Musée d’art contemporain de Baie-Saint-Paul, la Collection Prêt d’œuvres d’art Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the Richmond Women’s Resource Centre Association, the Art Gallery of Mount Saint Vincent University, the Richmond Art Gallery, Air Canada, as well as corporate and private collections in Canada and the United States. In 2012 spencer was awarded the La Centrale Powerhouse Prize and in 2016 spencer was a finalist for the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec’s prix en art actuel.



Do you have moments when you feel free while walking? If so, is this freedom available to others?

What are the implicit and explicit ways that your body is being managed or controlled – either by laws or perhaps social norms - when you walk outside of your home?

How do you think these forms of management have impacted your way of walking?