Born in Oak Park, Illinois, Kirsten Valentine is a Chicago-based self-taught painter. Kirsten works with oil and acrylic paint, on either very small panels or very large canvases. Her paintings pull you into the haunting world of their subjects– her blurry, unfinished style makes you feel you are a voyeur into someone's memory or dream.
“Much of my work is in black and white, sketchy and seemingly incomplete, an eye and a nose may be all that make up a face, limbs appear unconnected to a body, the environment is unseen.” Kirsten mentions her process involves a lot of wiping and scraping and overpainting, allowing for spontaneity– she rarely has a clear vision of the finished piece from the outset.
“Although figurative painting is inherently narrative I try to avoid overtly message-based or political work. I have done quite a bit of work focused on Jewish Partisans during WW2, but that work is as much personal as it is political” Some of her biggest influences include artists Gerhardt Richter, Kerry James Marshall, Francis Bacon and Julien Spianti. Her work can currently be seen at the Bridgeport Art Center in Chicago, now through May 3, and in “Tiny Acts Topple Empires” at the Woskob Family Gallery in Pennsylvania, opening March 28. •
You can follow Kirsten Valentine's work
on her Instagram @kirstenvalentine