Daily Art Moment: Kristan Kennedy

W.L.L.B.L.N.D.N.E.S., Kristan Kennedy, 50 x 42 inches, ink, dye, bleach on linen. A photo of a vertical rectangular length of cloth hung from the upper corners with the rest left to hang freely. The mostly indigo cloth has a round bright yellow circle near the top at center. The circle shows uneven color with a crescent shape suggesting removed color on its right side. Around the circle, a halo of white bleaching radiates outward from the yellow sphere. Larger areas of white drip from the bottom of the sphere. To the left is a short, thick blob of the same bright yellow. A horizontal bleached line runs behind the circle from left to right angling downward at far right. Just to the right of the sphere two thick bleached lines run vertically ending a third from the bottom in splatters. They are bisected by another horizontal line under the sphere. At left starting at the two horizontal lines, a thick bleached area travels downward widening into a wedge shape and continues to the very bottom of the fabric. It is unevenly bleached with some indigo showing through. White splatter marks decorate the bottom third of the cloth. At the upper right corner of the work, splotches of white are overlaid with a lighter blue color. The fabric is wrinkled and worn with frayed edges and loose threads. The borders of the cloth are uneven.

“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

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