Artist Kristan Kennedy working outdoors, 2017.
Artist Kristan Kennedy working outdoors, 2017.

Cooley Gallery Acquires Paintings by Kristan Kennedy

By Ethyl Elwood | August 29, 2018

The Cooley Gallery has acquired an installation composed of 12 paintings by Portland artist Kristan Kennedy. The installation, Untitled Arrangement, 2016, was acquired through an art-acquisition grant funded by The Ford Family Foundation and managed by the Oregon Arts Commission.

Untitled Arrangement consists of 12 richly worked linen paintings of varying sizes that exist together as a family of forms. Completed over months of ritual washing, painting, and reworking, the works evince Kennedy’s mature command of color, gesture, and the energized space between order and chaos, and intention and chance. Embracing the calligraphic symbolism of the Northwest School, Kennedy “writes” on her work with paint, dye, and bleach, working both indoors and out, often with homemade tools. The titles of Untitled Arrangement’s individual linens consist of the first letters of enigmatic phrases derived from poems and personal events.

Kristan Kennedy has lived and worked in Portland for almost twenty years, maturing into one of Oregon’s most dynamic and experimental painters. She has exhibited her work around the world, with representation by Fourteen30 Contemporary in Portland. In addition to her practice as an artist, Kennedy is well known in the community for her role as one of the artistic directors of the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, focusing on visual art. Kennedy also teaches contemporary art at institutions including PSU and PNCA, and serves on numerous panels and committees in support of Oregon artists and arts organizations.

Kennedy’s work will be part of a major painting exhibition opening at the Cooley in the spring of 2020. Curated by director Stephanie Snyder ’91, the exhibition is an exploration of painting freed from the constraints of interior structures.

This is the sixth art-acquisition grant that the Cooley has received from The Ford Family Foundation. The college has also acquired works by Prof. Michael Knutson, Prof. Geraldine Ondrizek, Prof. Aki Miyoshi, Lucinda Parker ’66, and Carol Benson. The program helps qualified museums to acquire major pieces by notable Oregon artists.

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