Kirsten Glass is a British artist known for her use of geometric patterns and unconventional materials such as sand and glitter in paintings and collages that engage the senses.Read More
Kirsten Glass' early works from the mid-1990s make use of stencils, with recurring motifs that include animals, snowflakes, and human figures. In works such as Cows (1995) and Moose, Building (1995), Glass applies the stencil to the wall or arranges small canvases into larger forms, foreshadowing her later wall-based, variously shaped collages. Her exploration of the material qualities of painting can also be seen in her incorporation of sand into the paintings Animals and Horses (both 1996), where the silhouettes of animals take on an almost sculptural quality.
Text also appears in Kirsten Glass' paintings of the 1990s, from which two main strands of textures can be identified: random names, among them Karen Carson and Alex (both 1998), repeat and intersect in her sand and acrylic paintings, while other works feature flat surfaces. This latter group of paintings offer an expanse of a single colour above a white space with text, evoking Pantone colour charts. Instead of the colours' names, however, the artist's texts are lifted from contemporary songs such as Good Good Good like Brigitte Bardot (1998) from The Pretenders' 1981 Message of Love.
The female figure is another significant motif in Kirsten Glass' work, which began as cut-outs of models from magazines. These images were reproduced as paintings on canvas almost invariably against a black background (Total Block, 2000), or put together into assemblages on the wall (Pilot collage, 2001). In her 'This Is a Vampire Story' era (2006–2011), Glass focused on single portraits of women, recreating images of models to imbue them with what she described as 'a more complex subjectivity' in her 2014 interview with The Saatchi Gallery Magazine.
Kirsten Glass has increasingly employed the Flower of Life in her paintings, exploring the possibilities of geometric forms suggested by the symbol. Her discovery of the pattern traces back to 2012, when she traced the shadows of her friends onto canvas—inspired by the story of the Corinthian Maid who inscribes her lover's shadow on the wall before his departure as a memento—and used a compass to draw circles over them as a means of partially covering them. In the resulting 'Visitors' series, the human figures are nearly invisible behind the Flowers of Life (Visitors [Sarah], 2014) or emerge in stark contrast against the dark (Visitors [Angela, Liz, Chloe], 2013).
Kirsten Glass continues to expand the Flower of Life motif while retaining figurative elements in her work. In Swimming Witches (2014)—a tall vertically oriented painting—the artist emphasises the curves of the Flowers of Life to suggest the undulating lines of waves. Using dots to delineate the curves evoke constellations, such as in Cave Painting (2012) or Lantern (2019–2020).
Glass currently lives and works in London.
Light Trance Works, Karsten Schubert London (2020); Persephone, Queen of the Underworld, Cock 'n' Bull Gallery, London (2014); A Spritz of Absinthe, xero, kline & coma, London (2012); The Body in the Library, V22 Ashwin Street, London (2007).
Charlie Dutton Gallery, Beijing (2016); Lion and Lamb, Miami (2013); studio 1.1, London (2013).
Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2020