City of Light: Karen Horne paints Salt Lake at night when it shines.

As an artist, Karen Horne has a problem. Her delight in dressing in vivid colors tends to distract the eye from even her famously luminous streetscapes and paintings of whirling dancers.

“For me the color doesn’t end on the canvas,” says Horne, whose kelly-green ensemble sets off her red hair. In fact, he has to approve her husband Michael Rowley’s clothing choice before they go out to make sure it is simpatico with her dress. “Color is so important to me that I feel uncomfortable if we clash.”

Horne’s color sense and love of human movement has made her one of the best known artists in Salt Lake. Since 1989, when she moved to Salt Lake City from New York, she has been capturing cityscapes, cafe scenes and dance performances in a style she describes as contemporary impressionism or expressionism. In her street scenes, Horne gravitates to gathering places—coffee shops, performance halls and busy thoroughfares. “I like the feeling of people hanging out. I love color and I love gesture. In street life, you get the gestures of pedestrians and people and waiters in cafes.”

An overwhelming number of her paintings portray rain-soaked night scenes. Colors smear across the canvas. A recent pastel of the Century 16 Megaplex on 3300 South, far from an exotic locale, through her eye is a neon beacon to romance.

Cinema“I love figures in the rain. You get all the reflections and vectors of light. It forces you to abstract,” Horne says. “And I’m always looking for opportunities to ramp up the light.”

You can see Karen Horne’s work at Horne Fine Art, 142 E. 800 South, SLC, 801-533-4200,

written by: Glen Warchol

Andrea Peterson
Andrea Peterson
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