Discover Learn

Daily Art Moment: Kristan Kennedy

“Kristan Kennedy often creates abstract paintings on loose linen, washing them numerous times, up to 20–30 washes, wearing away the fabric and embedding the paint deeper into the fibers. Kennedy’s works are strong reminders of Helen Frankenthaler’s (1928–2011) paintings in her use of unprimed canvas to stain the fabric with pigment. Kennedy’s work can be seen in connection to the lineage of Pattern and Decoration, particularly artists like Charles Christopher Hill who, in the 1970s, would take fabric and paper sewn together and bury them in his backyard in an effort to weather the fibers, revealing a process of decay. The physicality of her paintings through washing, ripping, wrinkling, and folding, address the relationship to the body expressed simultaneously through its fragility and tenacity. W.L.L.B.L.N.D.N.E.S. shows both the weathered and washed linen with strong calligraphic gestures. All of Kennedy’s works are titled in acronyms that once held meaning, but are no longer to be deciphered.”

Grace Kook-Anderson, The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Northwest Art

Kristan Kennedy (American, born 1972). W.L.L.B.L.N.D.N.E.S., 2017. Ink, dye, and bleach on linen. Museum Purchase: Funds provided by the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Endowment for Northwest Art, 2017.103.1