Karen Carson was born in Corvallis, OR, received her B.A. in 1966 from the University of Oregon and her M.F.A. from UCLA in 1971. In 1994 she was an artist in residence at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.  She began exhibiting in 1969 at the Atheneum Gallery, CalTech, Pasadena and Cirrus Gallery in 1973-1977. She first exhibited at Rosamund Felsen Gallery in 1979 and continues to the present. A 25 Year Survey of her paintings was held at the Santa Monica Museum of Art in 1996. She has exhibited at the Pomona College Museum of Art’s Project Series; an exhibition, “Movers and Shapers: Combines, Tractors and Swathers by Karen Carson,” at Oklahoma State University Museum of Art, Stillwater; and “Canvas Constructions: Karen Carson and Allan McCollum,” Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle. Her work has appeared in group exhibitions at San Diego Museum of Fine Arts; San Francisco Museum of Art; Pasadena Art Museum; The Art Institute of Chicago; Lang Art Gallery, Scripps College, Claremont, CA; La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art;  Newport Harbor Art Museum; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Fort Worth Art Museum; Brooke Alexander, NY;  McNay Institute, San Antonio; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Fisher Gallery, USC; Sezon Museum of Art, Tokyo and Tsukashin Hall, Osaka; Bill Maynes Gallery, NY; Museum of American Art of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Neue Galerie, Graz, Austria and numerous others.

Carson was a tenured assistant professor at CalState Northridge; a lecturer at UC Santa Barbara, Otis College of Art & Design, Claremont Graduate School, UCLA, UC Irvine, and University of Nevada, Las Vegas; and a tenured Assoc. Professor at UC Santa Barbara. She has received numerous awards including Young Talent Award from LA Municipal Art Gallery; Purchase Awards from Western Washington College, Bellingham, Long Beach Museum of Art, and Mt San Antonio College; Mitchell Gallery, and Southern IIllinois University at Carbondale. She has received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Painting Fellowship, an NEA grant, the J. Paul Getty Trust Fellowship, and a Research grant from UC Santa Barbara. Carson lives in Venice, CA and Big Timber, Montana.