Peter Karis / Biography

Artist Peter Karis is an expressionist, painting people, flowers, trees and objects as he interprets them, not as they seem to be.

Karis was born on March 29, 1942 in Jersey City, grew up in Northern New Jersey and at an early age knew art was his calling. He went to college in Ohio, attending Kent State University where in 1964 he received a BFA in painting. Practical concerns turned Karis to advertising where for over 30 years he guided Karis Advertising & Design in Cleveland, Ohio.

Karis's painting career was sparked when Canadian recording artist Ian Thomas selected a painting for his new record album entitled Levity. The result was a Juno Award, the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy, for the best album cover design of the year.

Karis works in acrylic and the subject matter is usually figurative but expressionistic, with maximum color, conveying emotion and power. The work tends to draw you into a memory of your own, more evocative than descriptive, "the viewer has to become a participant," Karis says.

Mary Bell of Mary Bell Galleries in Chicago, one of Karis's most successful outlets, says "every stroke counts, he pares the subject down to the most essential detail. His paintings elicit a very primal reaction. Viewers feel a strong connection and sometimes don't even know why." Mary Bell Galleries has sold work to both corporate and individual collectors and has hosted Karis one man shows since 1990.

Karis has won numerous awards for his work, which has been exhibited throughout the United States including the Nabisco Gallery, Cleveland Clinic, Cooperstown Art Museum, Butler Museum and Kent State University. Internationally in 1993 Karis was one of three American artists selected to exhibit at the Gallery Roseg outside of St. Moritz in Switzerland and in 2005 was nominated to participate in the Annual International Biennial of Contemporary Art, which was held in the historic Fortezza da Basso in Florence, Italy.

Sadly, Peter Karis passed away in January 2015. Prior to his death Peter successfully established Karis Art Gallery on Hilton Head Island where his work continues to be shown and sold in the gallery run by his wife Maggie.

Contact Maggie Karis by phone at 843-384-8804 or at Karis Art Gallery 843-785-5100.


Peter Karis Acrylic Painter Impressionistic 2009    Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort, Hilton Head, SC
2008    Shell Hall Club, Bluffton, SC
2008    Grand Bohemian Gallery, Savannah, Georgia
2005    Fifth Annual Florence Biennale, Florence, Italy
2005    Calhoun Street Gallery, Bluffton, South Carolina
2004    Mary Bell Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
2001    Art Resource Gallery, Invitational Figurative Show, Minneapolis, MN
2000    Cooperstown 65th Natonal Exhibition, Cooperstown, New York
1999    Butler Institute of American Art, 63rd National Show, Youngstown, Ohio
1999    Mary Bell Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
1998    Cleveland Clinic Foundation Juried Show, Cleveland, Ohio
1998    M.C. Gallery, Minneapolis, Minnesota
1997    Cameo Art Gallery, Columbia, South Carolina
1996    Mary Bell Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
1995    M.C. Gallery, Minneapolis, Minnesota
1994    Mansfield Art Center, Mansfield, Ohio
1993    M.C. Gallery, Minneapolis, Minnesota
1993    Shoreby Club, Cleveland, Ohio
1993    Gallery Roseg, Pontresina, Switzerland
1993    Chelsea Gallery, Cleveland, Ohio
1992    Nabisco Brands Gallery, East Hanover, New Jersey
1992    Mary Bell Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
1992    Alex Gallery, Washington, D.C.
1991    Cooperstown Art Association, Cooperstown, New York
1991    Maryland Federation Show, Annapolis, Maryland
1991    Mary Bell Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
1991    Artreach Midwest Contemporary Series, Columbus, Ohio
1991    Chagrin Valley Art Center, Chagrin Falls, Ohio
1990    Butler Museum 52nd Annual, Youngstown, Ohio
1990    Mary Bell Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
1990    Warehouse Distric Show, Cleveland, Ohio
1989    10th Street Gallery, Cleveland, Ohio
1989    Dobama Gallery, Cleveland, Ohio
1989    Clary-Miner Gallery, Buffalo, New York
1989    Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
1988    Donna Rose Gallery, Sun Valley Idaho
1988    Tilgham Gallery, Boca Raton, Florida
1988    Paragon Gallery, Akron, Ohio
1988    Vox Gallery, Akron, Ohio
1988    Karamu House Gallery, Cleveland, Ohio
1968    45th Annual Akron Art Institute
1967    Canton Art Institute, Canton, Ohio


1995    "Virtuosity," Art Communication International, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1994    Group Show Award, Mansfield Art Center, Mansfield, Ohio
1992    Group Show Award, Art Affiliates, Nabisco Brands Gallery, East Hanover, New Jersey
1991    Merit Award, Cooperstown 56th Annual National Exhibition
1991    Jurors Award, Maryland Federation of Art National Show
1991    One Man Show Award, artreach Midewest Contemporary Artist Series, Columbus, Ohio
1989    Merit Award, Clary - Miner Gallery, Buffalo, New York
1988    Juno Award, Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
1967    Merit Award, Canton Art Institute, Canton, Ohio