Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Kim Anno: The universal statement

We see powerful strokes of white and grays mixed with ochre or a tinge of teal on robust painting surfaces like metal sheet or wood panel. Sometimes these strokes show a direct resemblance with nature, and at other times these are suggestive allegories. The painting appears gradual, like it has evolved out of the earth, and then suddenly the fluidity in the composition is disrupted by sharp, flowing lines of saturated blues, umbers or oranges. The entire composition elicits the idea of ‘change’ – dangerous human interference with nature and nature responding back in her calamitous ways.Global warming, changing water levels and disturbed environmental landscapes are the inspiration for these stunning paintings by acclaimed artist Kim Anno.

Kim uses extremely powerful gestural work to convey her ideology. But Kim does not limit her art only to the medium of painting; she is a skilled bookmaker, photography and video artist as well. She maintains a consistent approach in the abstract style of expression across all the art forms that she explores. It is very interesting to watch (and learn) how the different art forms change the emphasis on details but speak the same language. For instance, in her paintings she chooses sheer colors to convey the idea, while in photographs she targets established metaphors like geographical magazines or earth balloons, rearranging them to bring out a new meaning altogether. Her photos are as striking as her paintings; they make you pause for a moment and, most importantly, they make you think. It is not surprising that her work has been collected by museums in the US and has also been exhibited internationally.

Kim was born in Los Angeles and currently lives in Berkeley. She is the chair of the Painting Program at California College of the Arts (CCA) and has been a professor at the college since 1996. Her recent interest has been in the intersection of art and science, particularly in aesthetic issues surrounding climate change and changing water levels. She was recently awarded a fellowship by the Zellerbach Foundation in support of her new interdisciplinary work. Interestingly, Kim is also performing hydrodynamic experiments in various types of water bodies to collect data and images for her projects. Currently, she is busy with the project called ‘Men and Women in Water Cities’. Take a look at these early pictures.

You can visit her website to see more of her paintings, photographs and video projects.
Kim is represented by ‘Marcia Wood Gallery’ in Atlanta and ‘Patricia Sweetow Gallery’ in San Francisco.

My sincere thanks to Kim for permitting me to write this post and providing the images.