Karen David’s perfectly eccentric collection of paintings and memorabilia is on display in the Crush Hall Cabinets at FCH Campus (outside TC001) from 28 May to 21 June.

‘Going Within’ is the title of a 1989 book by the Hollywood actress and transcendental author Shirley Maclaine. Sister to Warren Beatty, Shirley has long been vocal about her interests in mysticism and once ran a five-day transformation cruise named ‘Spiritual Odyssey’ which held seminars and workshops on board the luxury cruise liner. This exhibition imagines Shirley’s cabin on this cruise after a fictional painting workshop based on these ideas.

“The day’s activities had left her exhausted and she was glad to be back in her quiet cabin to review her work. She had planned to make paintings with colours swirling and dancing, but when completed they looked flat and empty so, as a reaction, she had washed the paint off under the tap and found what was left behind to be quite intriguing, like traces of the activity.” 

–  Extract from ‘Five-Day Cruise’ by Karen David – part of a handbook of accounts centred around a fictional commune investigating links between post-painterly abstraction, new age memorabilia and new possibilities in gardening.



Karen David is a London-based artist currently undertaking a practice-based PhD in Fine Art at University of Worcester with a studio focus on painting, mythmaking and fictional narrative.

In 2014 she undertook a research trip to Marfa, Texas and Roswell, New Mexico. In 2015 she was Artist in Residence at Islington Mill, Manchester, and in 2016 won the Artist in Residence award with a studio embedded in the BA Painting course at Wimbledon College of Arts. Between 2016-18 she curated 10 exhibitions and publications focussing on intermedia and cross-disciplinary practices exhibiting 100+ artists. David runs Cork Lined Rooms; an artist interview and studio project based on the Proust Questionnaire.