KIRSTIN LAMB

BIO

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 and abroad, recently showing in group shows at the Carole Calo Gallery at Stonehill College in Easton, MA, Darger HQ, Omaha, Nebraska, The Duxbury Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, MA, New Bedford Art Museum in New Bedford, MA, the Wassaic Project in Amenia, NY, the Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek, CA, the Yellow Peril Gallery in Providence, RI, the Lentos Museum in Linz, Austria and Bunker Projects in Pittsburgh, PA among others.  She has attended residencies at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center, Bunker Projects, the Wassaic Project, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and the Sam and Adele Golden Foundation.   

Site images photographed by Karen Philippi Photography unless otherwise noted.

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Artist Statement

The studio is full of props.  I collect ribbons, fabric, taxidermy, vintage photographs, skulls 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 the space. 

Much of my work depicts 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

In much of my painting and drawing, I re-image my own work, embroideries, vintage imagery, and art historical imagery.  My process involves a practice of using my paintings as props in still life paintings or interior paintings.  I create paintings to paint them again.  I re-use paintings in multiple arrangements, as interchangeable objects in an endlessly rotating still life or display. 

About My Embroidery Paintings

I call the gridded high-detail paintings on transparent acetate embroidery paintings.  In order to paint the images that are not already patterns set on a grid, I generate a digitized grid and paint each gridded stitch by hand with acrylic and acrylic gouache on a wet media acetate.  This is a simple process of re-painting a textile or pattern, sometimes an invented image-generated textile, sometimes an actual knit or textile pattern. The brush creates a one to one relationship of mark to stitch; each mark stands in for a move of the needle. 

 Many of the embroidery paintings I make are images of floral wallpaper cropped from French wallpaper of the 17th, 18th and 19th century.  Included in this application is a series I recently created from images of French wall decoration made following the discovery of the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum.  These works were deliberately cropped from texts discussing the shift in pattern before and after the discovery of those ruins, and the elaborate color and design shifts that occurred after the unearthing of the frescos.  I am particularly interested in the political moment that created this shift and its need for this decoration and the need for the classical power invested in this kind of antiquity at that moment.  I transfer this documentation to a deliberately cropped and somewhat modern space that reads as both woven and pixelated, primarily to reframe our gaze as contemporary (with the sheen of the acetate adding an extra screen-like feeling).  The re-presenting of this particular decorative moment is for me an echoing of the darker uses of antiquity as a stand in for beauty and power.

About My Installations

Over the past few years I have dedicated myself to a series of arrangements of paintings and props 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 hex signs.  There is a kind of demented devotion to hand painting every last detail.

I make labor-intensive images of labor-intensive textiles. I image the interior of my domestic space and my studio as a domestic space.  The landscape I image is a fictional decorated interior populated with images of exterior landscapes and flora.  I describe my confines or limits, and the possible extensions and decorations of place.  My recent work confuses the interior and the exterior with small forest and outdoor thicket imagery, leaning paintings and images of the artist’s studio, hand-painted rugs, hex signs, embroidery paintings, pictures of interiors, florals and wallpaper, painted drop cloths, patterned images, and stuffed canvas sculpture. 

I re-image my own work, embroideries, and art historical imagery.  My process involves a practice of using my paintings as props in still life paintings or interior paintings.  I create paintings to paint them again.  I re-use paintings in multiple arrangements, as interchangeable objects in an endlessly rotating still life or display.  So this is both something new and something reused.  Each installation contains many new purpose-made artworks and also many reused objects.

About My Digital Drawings

These digital drawings are my newest body of work, and they are drawn directly from images of my studio wall.  I deliberately took my handmade drawn and painted work, paper ephemera, antique and vintage wallpaper and fabrics and collaged them on my wall in an associative, but ordered manner.  I re-insert paintings and clippings together, with blue tape, and tacks to create this ephemeral wall collage, that moves with me from studio to studio.  Many of my installations and paintings have been inspired by juxtapositions on the wall, conversations with objects.

The printed scale for all these works is at least 5x the scale of an image on a screen, so some of the digital failures of the mark can be seen.  I’m interested in re-presenting the private and quirky space of the studio in a clear and dispassionate way and the gray-scale re-drawing with a digital line gives me some nuance but also some homogeneity.  Trying to look and re-look at the practice of art making, to see if the things that I am using in a talismanic manner in the studio, really do help me speak about a kind of straightjacketed femininity or painters' doubt.