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In the Studio with Lindsey Kircher

Contemporary artist Lindsey Kircher often explores themes surrounding resilient women emboldened by their environment, facilitating a world where women transcend limitations of body and gender. We met with Lindsey to tell us more about her practice and journey as an artist.

When did you first begin to see yourself as an artist?
 
I have always been drawing and making art, but I began to see myself as an artist when I got my own studio space in college. I took full advantage of late nights and early mornings to work there and really made the space my own. I felt like an artist when I put in the work and started to feel like I was developing a language to say things I needed to say through my art.
 Where are you from and what was your upbringing like? How has this impacted your work?
 

I was born in Paris, but I am from Northern Virginia, about 10 miles outside of Washington, DC. It is a very intense area that gave me a competitive edge and strong work-ethic. However, because there are mostly political and corporate professionals in the area, growing up here instilled my resolve to forge a unique lifestyle by pursuing my art.

Paint us a picture of your artistic journey. Have you gone through the traditional route of art school and what was your experience?
 

I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in Drawing and Painting from Penn State University in May 2019. So I did not attend a traditional art school, but rather, an art program within a larger state university. I benefited from this experience because the art program was small, so I was able to develop strong connections with professors and take advantage of opportunities to show my work and meet with visiting artists. Meanwhile, I also had access to all the greater advantages of the university – I was in the honors college, I minored in Spanish and Entrepreneurship, and I met people with a variety of majors and interests.

What’s the message of your work?

The narrative in my work is about resilient female protagonists who undertake an ongoing journey to forge their own reality and seek the truth about their world. They are usually portrayed in states of transformation, as they transcend limitations of body and gender to engage in self-reliance and bravery. I would say that major themes in the work are the relationship between women and nature, an interest in ritual, and cultivating a sense of endurance or perseverance.
 

Where do they come from? How would you describe your aesthetic?

This work refers to personal experiences and also comes from an awareness of current movements or uprisings, an interest in ancient mythologies and spiritual practices, and an understanding of femininity and sexuality. I want to represent resistance and strength through the bold actions of the women in my work.

I would describe the aesthetic of my work as mystical, saturated, and dramatic. While the women themselves enact exciting moments of discovery, the acidic color palette and intense use of light heightens the magical and ceremonial feeling of the work.

Who and what are your greatest influences?

I am influenced by artists like Kyle Staver, Judith Linares, and Lisa Yuskavage!

Are your works planned? What do you want people to take from your work when they view it? Do you have the audience consciously in mind when you are creating?

I usually sketch out ideas that I must get down on paper with colored pencil. They don’t always become paintings but often they do.

When people see my work, I want them to engage with ideas of transformation and liberation. While I hope that the women in my work encourage the viewer to reflect on their own potential for transcendence, they also act as meditations on my personal capability and sense of becoming.

Kyle Staver, Unicorn and Shooting Star, 2015

What events in your life have mobilised change in your practise? How has your art evolved?

Specifically, attending the Yale Norfolk Summer School of Art in 2018 changed my practice significantly. At the time, I was working with multiple figures, who were often engaged in recognizable, ritualistic scenes of parties or sports games. One of my professors encouraged me to work with one figure, and to more deeply consider why I am interested in painting certain subjects.

Since then, I remain interested in ritual, but I have been exploring it through the narrative of a single female protagonist, or sometimes two. The work has become more mythical and detached from reality. It has also become very investigative of light and volume.

I usually stick to oil on canvas, but I also make finished charcoal drawings. Charcoal allows me to experiment with figurative abstraction because I am able to focus exclusively on form and mark-making, without being distracted by color. It feels like a more immediate and active medium to articulate my ideas.

What are your ideal conditions or catalyst for creating a “good” piece of work?

I’m not sure if I have any specific conditions for creating a “good” piece of work; what is most important is that I persevere and devise innovative solutions to problems that arise in the work. I usually don’t give up on a painting once I start, there is a joy in the struggle of reeling in a work to it’s final, completed form.

What are your goals for the future? 

My goal for the future is to build upon the body of work that I have started in 2020. I have a lot of drawings and ideas for future paintings that continue to explore the independence and endurance of the recurring female figure. I also have some ideas for new experimentations with light – what different color light can I explore? How can I create softer light? How can I render a painting in the warm light of day, or the pink light of sunset?

How have you been keeping creative during isolation?

Luckily, I was able to do some travel in 2019 that continues to inspire this body of work. I enjoy reflecting on these memories and revisiting them through the process of painting. I have also been staying creative by listening to some of my favorite art podcasts, Sound and Vision and Talk Art. It is inspiring to hear about how other artists are making their way through these unprecedented circumstances and listening to them makes me feel closer to the art community.

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