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Ian Kimmerly

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Northport, Michigan

Birth year

Lives in
San Francisco

Works in
San Francisco


University of Arizona, 2005, MFA
University of Michigan, 2002, BFA

Representing galleries

figurative, abstract


Artist Statement

My paintings incorporate various images and pictorial modes to explore the evolving notions of memory, personal experience and self in the digital age. Works are inspired by disparate elements and combine a variety of found and personal photos, video stills and other references. These elements are incorporated into open color fields and atmospheres that speak to the temporal, ephemeral qualities of mediating technologies, particularly social media and digital innovations. I am interested in how these technologies have so quickly affected the ways in which we remember, relate to each other, and understand as well as define our world.

I find painting an ideal format for exploring the tension between nonobjective and illusionary space, the gap between abstraction and figurative realms. In my work, gestural, wavelike painted passages often submerge a variety of images. Submerged images include objects cast as reflections in windows, distorted stills from old family VHS tapes and artificial elements such as mannequins and store displays. These images present a secondhand or mediated relationship to actual experience that calls into question how we define the real.

During the painting process, images are blurred, scraped and layered with color to emphasize the complexity of defining authentic experiences. This fragmented approach to a painting’s subjects is meant to create a visual distancing where the seams of an image, what’s tenuously holding it together, are revealed.

I am interested in how continental philosophy and critical theory grapple with the nature of reality, defining the basis and terms for such a complicated discussion. I see painting as fertile terrain for this dialogue, where the physical and immediate qualities of paint coexist with images and representations of the natural world. I am drawn to nature as an antidote to the distractions of the digital world and often find significance, harmony and meaning in the structures of tree branches or a lake’s wave patterns. The transcendental potential of the natural world, the symmetry and shapes inherent in forests, fields and bodies of water, make them an integral part of my work and its underlying focus, the investigation of what binds us all together.  


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Recent Exhibits

Ian Kimmerly participated in these exhibits:

Jun, 2013 Ian Kimmerly: Continuous Wave
Dolby Chadwick Gallery
Dec, 2012 Point of No Return
Southern Exposure
Aug, 2010 Artists Leading Artists
Diego Rivera Gallery - SF Art Institute

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