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kevin kenific

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New York City

Birth year

Lives in

Works in


Brandeis University, Heller School for Social Policy & Management, 2009, Post-Bac Studio Art
University of Rochester, 2005, BS Optics

Representing galleries

modern, surrealism, realism, pop, video-art, mixed-media, figurative, abstract, psychedelic, psychosensual, psychogeography, psy

a primer on pain

Kevin Kenific was born in New York City in 1981 and currently lives and works in northern New Jersey. He works primarily as a painter exploring the duality of the painting as object and as image in addition to the interaction between painting and video. He obtained a BS in Optics from the University of Rochester in 2005 as well as Post-Baccalaureate degree in Studio Art at Brandeis University in 2008. He has also specifically studied old master techniques, color theory, and cartooning at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA and the Rochester Institute of Technology. Kevin worked as a laser engineer throughout his 20s before abandoning that career to pursue art fulltime. He has had one solo show at Rochester Contemporary in 2005 and participated in a handful of group shows, most recently at the Art Upstairs Gallery in Morristown, NJ. 

Symmetry of Despair is a body of work that attempt to manipulate and question the principles that describe the way we register, identify, and organize the visual input that constitutes the world around us, the Gestalt principles.  By upending this foundation, the work demands that the viewer negotiate the way across or through the image plane in a highly personal way. The emphasis is no the viewer to reveal something about themselves, less so the artist, via what they project onto the work, the way in which they make sense of it. Clearly there some some associations arleady established. The finesse of detail resembles a monochrome, muted take on psychedelic, trippy tv+lsd induced color hallucinations. From there comes some cosmic feel, a pronounced sensitivity to the universe at large and our infintesimal place in it. Figure-ground relationship is barely established if at all meaning that the order we try to impose on what we see in the work is in constant flux, resulting in confusing, and likely anxiety. I putting this out there, I seek to take it in, or at least provoke conversation with one another where each person reveals something about themselves defined by what they perceive in and project onto the work. The work warrants revisiting and/or continued exposure as it's possible to find something new with each experience of it. Time becomes dilated when any experience which should normally take a fraction of a second (registering and identifying the visual input from the surroundings) doesn't transpire easily given that there are no obvious associations implied, which itself is due to the fact that my intent involves little more than a color choice and some randomized composition whose resulting all-overness feel comes not from the overall summary, but resides in the details. When looked at, these paintings imply simultaneously fractured/warped silhouettes of people, creatures, objects, patterns, textures, diminishing/vanishing space. The sum total could be the visual equivalent of a bad acid trip, wherein our darkest fears and dreams become known. Or precisely the opposite. Rather than resolve the contradiction, these works embrace them, implying that such breakdowns in order may be more significantly telling than order itself. Truth is, sometimes I'm just guessing, and I think everyone else is too. However, no one will admit it. Why do we bother? Just to get along? When we keep up such appearances, our real selves become isolated. Every way we have to communicate is nothing more than an approximation for the observation/truth we are trying to convey. With that approximation is loss of information, and ultimately miscommuncation and confusion. With that, we get anxiousness, which in turn becomes sadness, anger and violence. And it feels like there's no way out sometimes.

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