Arlington, MA

As a child Kristin was always drawing, always painting, always doing something creative. Her mother insisted that being bored indicated a non-creative mind; art and hands-on projects were encouraged. After the traditional college path (B.A. in Religion and Women’s Studies from Dartmouth College), Kristin went to California College of the Arts when she was in her late twenties, getting a degree in Printmaking and working with some of the finest teachers she has ever known. Being in art school when she was a bit older was a real gift; Kristin has a better sense of how finite her time there was so she used it more productively and was more prepared for the challenges of setting up a studio practice when she graduated.

Kristin's work is about movement, mark and pattern. She makes abstract and non-objective work because she is not interested in narrative; working to create art that generates a response that doesn’t reach for story first compels her. Beauty also preoccupies her, in a very fundamental way. What kind of mark elicits response? What type of pattern causes people to move closer to the work? Can viewers access her work even if it is completely non-objective? Often visitors to her studio do not have the language to discuss her art, but they find themselves responding to it. This is what Kristin finds most exciting about being an artist, since the moments she finds most satisfying in life generally do not need narrative to complete them.

Kristin makes gelatin plate monotypes, which is a process that is super direct and altogether low-tech: She makes the gelatin plates herself, and then hand prints everything with water-based inks. Sometimes the hand-pulled prints are perfect as is, but sometimes they want to be cut up and re-imagined -- much of Kristin's work involves cutting up and recombining the original monotypes. Even the dark areas of solid color in the collages are from monotypes hand-printed by Kristin; it is important to her that everything be handmade. The irony is that most visitors to the studio think the work is digital. She thinks this is because the level of detail and mark that the gelatin picks up is astounding – it is a very sensitive surface, which is not that surprising given gelatin’s use in traditional darkroom photography.

Kristin is influenced by Agnes Martin and the ocean, always. Anything with a complex and flowing pattern also influences her, and this can be anything from a leaf to a series of cracks in the pavement to traditional sumi brush paintings from Japan and China. The world is a visual feast, and although she spends a fair amount of time looking at both contemporary and art historical artwork, it is generally the patterns of everyday life that find their way into her studio work.

More Artwork By Kristin Breiseth