Kirsten Blair (born 1980) is an Oregon based artist. Kirsten’s work is an expression of presence. It aims to recreate the shapes and repetition found while exploring her home on the Oregon Coast. Through immersion in nature and observation her work explores the concept of space, rest and sense of place through abstraction.
How did you get into art?
I would say that art is just part of me, and always has been. I was drawn to design early and built a career there with drawing and painting as a way to stay connected to self. When I realized the life I built around my career was the center of my anxiety, I turned to art as my lifeline.
How would you describe your style? What makes your work special?
My work is primarily an abstraction of observations. The motifs developed from what I discover while exploring place in those quiet moments of reflection. There’s both a grounded sense of place within the paintings but a lightness through lyrical shapes and intuitive color choices.
I often build a foundation of linen dyed with foraged botanicals to imbue the work with place through materials.
How do you go about developing your work?
I spend meditative time walking on the beach near my home and practice noticing. The way at dusk the ocean turns metallic, the way the seafoam creates dropshadows when the sun is high. And in the case of this current body of work, the eelgrass that washes up on shore. I capture photos and do my best to replicate that feeling of discovery in the studio.
Who or what influences you?
I’m interested in exploring the space of tension and release and how that can be expressed through painting and am influenced by the natural world. I look for repetition and spontaneity and recognize patterns. Artists of the past have explored so many materials and learning about their processes encourages me to continue to experiment beyond the canvas.
I’m also influenced heavily by the community of natural dyers exploring the all the ways color can come from plants.
Make us curious. What is planned next?
I’m continuing to explore natural pigments and what a palette of earth has to offer. Looking both at dyes and earth pigments. I look forward to building bodies of work for different places beyond my home on the north Oregon coast.