PAINTING + MIXED MEDIA
Born in Zurich and raised in Bermuda, Kirkwood studied in the United States at Middlebury College and the New York Studio School. Much of her artistic sensibilities have been influenced by European culture, Renaissance artist Piero della Francesca (1415-1492), and the modern Italian master, Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964). Henri Matisse (1869-1954) is another artist from whom she claims lasting inspiration.
Kirkwood’s paintings are born from a powerfully compelling awareness of color in a very specific combination. Color is a force as real and visceral for her as the sun and the rain. With specific colors in mind, she begins her painting, letting them guide her as the painting progresses. She says: “When the colors are on the canvas, they may change or I may subtract. But even when they are as I imagined, they are still a surprise.” Part of the magic of her art is how seamlessly her choice of composition complements and balances her use of color. The effect that greets the viewer is of balance, simplicity and grace – a natural sense of wholeness and order that flows with immediacy and warmth from her love for the visual world. She has exhibited in London, Bermuda and New York and has work included in several major collections in Paris, London, Bermuda and Italy.
Colors are most often where I begin…like a doorway…and also like a fuel…and they are the material like musical notes are the material for making a melody. Colors are an endless source of wonder to me. Lately, for example, there’s a realm of shell pink I can’t escape. I just love it. But I couldn’t explain why. And really the whole process of painting, and drawing, is a mysterious one.
I find myself in constant travel between conscious calculation and unconscious impulse…constant movement between these realms. I’m more comfortable near the unconscious place–like a reverie, you might say, or even sometimes an ecstatic state–and much of what’s in my work has come from there. I do make plenty of decisions based on rational assessment but I trust my unconscious more. It’s more alive. Or maybe a better word is fertile. It’s more fertile. – C. Kirkwood