Karen Klein received her BA from Radcliffe College and her PhD from Columbia University and pursued a dual career. As an academic, she taught English and Interdisciplinary Humanities at Brandeis University for 37 years. As a visual artist, she makes wood sculptures, ink drawings, and artist's books. . She has had eight solo exhibitions, including those of her wood sculpture at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History and the Cast Iron Gallery in New York City. Her work, "the intimate life of trees" was shown with the poetry of Marguerite Bouvard at the Kniznick Gallery, Brandeis Women's Studies Research Center in Waltham and at the Morse Library in Natick. In making her sculptures she tries to stay as close as possible to the natural forms she finds while altering them in terms of combination and structure. She is a member of the New England Sculptors and has exhibited with them in museums and galleries regionally. As a member of the Studios Without Walls, she exhibited installations at the Boston Nature Center, the Brookline Muddy River and the Coolidge Corner Library.
Her drawings, and artist's books have been shown in juried and invitational exhibitions, including "The Space of Speech" at the Boston Public Library, Main Branch and the nationally traveling "Women of the Book". Reproductions of her drawings have been published in books from the University of Oklahoma Press, Oxford University Press, Beacon Press, McGraw Hill, and in poetry magazines and anthologies in the United States and Canada. In her drawings, she is enthralled by line, seeking maximum expressiveness with the minimum of marks. Her close attention to nature led her to write haiku, and her haiku, haibun, and haiga have been published in various journals and anthologies nationally and internationally. Upon retirement from Brandeis, she returned to dance which she had studied as a young woman with Martha Graham, Jose Limon, and Mary Anthony in the 1950s. She is a member of Prometheus Dance Elders Ensemble and has performed for choreographers Diane Arvanites Noya & Tommy Neblett, Daniel McCusker, Emily Beattie, & Kee Chin.