Kirstin is a painter living in Providence, Rhode Island and working in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Kirstin studied painting at the Rhode Island School of Design, graduating with an MFA in 2005. She began her studies as a literature student at Brown University, graduating in 2001 with Bachelors degrees in both Literatures in English and Visual Art. Kirstin’s work has been shown in venues across the country, notably the Ann Street Gallery in Newburgh, NY, Salvatore Ferragamo Gallery in New York, the Kniznick Gallery at Brandeis University, Silas Marder Gallery in Bridgehampton, NY, the Art Gallery of Calgary in Canada, Kate Singleton’s online project Buy Some Damn Art, Darger HQ of Lincoln, Nebraska, Room 83 Spring in Watertown, MA, Yellow Peril Gallery in Providence, RI, the Lentos Museum in Linz, Austria and Bunker Projects in Pittsburgh, PA. She has attended residencies at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center, Bunker Projects, and the Wassaic Project. Kirstin's work is currently represented by Darger HQ gallery in Omaha, Nebraska and Silence is Accurate in New York. Recent shows include a two-person show in April of 2016 with Anthony Hawley at her gallery, Darger HQ and a group show at the Woskob Family Gallery in State College, PA with MAAKE magazine. Kirstin's upcoming shows include group exhibitions at the Wassaic Project in Wassaic, NY in Summer of 2017 and the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, MA in fall of 2017.
Site images photographed by Karen Philippi Photography unless otherwise noted.
Darger HQ / www.dargerhq.org
Silence is Accurate / http://www.silenceisaccurate.com/
The studio is full of props. I collect skulls, taxidermy, ribbons, fabric, vintage photographs and paper ephemera. I organize these objects and stage compositions.
I create abstract pictures and portraits, large and small, to add to the still life objects staged in space. My recent work features both acrylic prop-paintings and miniature gouache paintings informed by the arrangements of these props.
The miniature gouache paintings depict pictures of pictures or salon images. These pictures are derived from a fascination with Vanitas still life, cabinets of curiosity, and paintings of paintings ranging from Matisse's Red Studio to David Teniers' depictions of the collection of Archduke Leopold of Austria. I am interested in how paintings retain their relevance by taking on ideas of death of painting or a kind of comedic curation-as-painting.
The prop paintings I arrange and depict are primarily abstract and patterned homages to textiles and folk pattern, though some are awkward genre pictures, landscapes and ham-fisted portraits. The props are frequently leaned and arranged in a white-walled studio, but I primarily choose to place the arrangements upon a deep sepia brown ground, to reference the Dutch Vanitas paintings that inspired the still life compositions. I confront the doubt so prevalent in painting by channeling the narrative content of my work through a distended process of accumulating not only imagery but multiple surfaces and frames within the one composition
The portrait and figural imagery in my recent work is derived from penny arcade cards, vintage pinups, and headshots of old Hollywood starlets and singers. I work directly from antique paper ephemera, which favors the meandering, homespun and gawky. The portraits act as prim and pert statues, as well as foils for the text and salon imagery in the scenes.
Leaning Pictures / Installation
Over the last few years, I have dedicated myself to a series of arrangements of paintings in space. I lean pictures on top of one another, hide one patterned canvas beneath another laden with similarly heavy pattern, or stack pictures on top of painted rugs. I have made hide rugs and begun to make wall treatments, all hand painted. In addition to rugs and patterned works I include portraits, floral flights of fancy, images reminiscent of sweaters, color wheels, or Pennsylvania Dutch Hex Signs. There is a kind of demented devotion to hand painting every last detail.
In my most recent installations, the hand-painted props have overtaken a wall in pattern and sweetness. Each gridded canvas is meant to evoke a sweater pattern or embroidery. I reintroduce the traditionally feminine lap-crafted originals as less diminutive cherished objects and more a billboard for the feeling of a handmade and intimate craft, here restaged in paint. The girlish whimsy of pinks and saccharine decorative marks gives way to sardonic text and lonely pinups and portraits. I want to both overwhelm and overfeed with sweetness and also quietly chastise that impulse and its attendant guilt. I’m hoping for a kind of stifling, claustrophobic saccharine space, intimating that maturing into my gendered role was not all I’d hoped for or all I was promised.