Make the Brutal Tender with March Artist Keri Kimura

The inside is outside, the outside in. Our March artist, Keri Kimura, creates brightly-colored paintings that tap into the vibrancy of landscape and dreamscape. 



Keri Kimura’s small works on paper are inspired by quilt patterns, the winter Maine landscape, and the movement of water and made with acrylic and flashe on paper.


“Make the brutal tender.” What does this mean to you? How does your work speak to this idea?
Making the brutal tender is a kind of transformation and my work is also a transformation from the solid landscape that I live in to the fluid, color and shape driven world of a painting.

How do you think your work and/or practice relates to the theme?
I often listen to the news in the morning in my studio and that has been a brutal soundtrack to this year. Then I sit down and work on these often very small, neat paintings and so there’s the combination of brutal and tender all the time. Especially in this political climate, I feel like we’re all rocking back and forth between the chaos of the world and our day to day lives, just getting up and walking our dogs and cooking breakfast and having a conversation with a friend.

Describe the editions you’ll be contributing this season.
These small works on paper were inspired by quilt patterns, the winter Maine landscape, and the movement of water. They’re made with acrylic and flashe on paper.

Who are some of your artistic influences?
In my studio right now, I’ve been looking at a lot of Stuart Davis, whose forms and playfulness I love. Recently I saw the show of Elizabeth Murray‘s sculptures from the 80’s and I’ve had them stuck in my head. I have some aspirations of making something 3-dimensional this year. Some other painters who I keep coming back to right now are are Richard Diebenkorn, Charline Von Heyl, Laura Owens, and Shara Hughes.

What interests you in Community Supported Art?
I like the idea that people can be exposed to artists they don’t know and have a work arrive right into their homes. I’m thrilled by the idea of encountering art in ways other than on a gallery wall. It’s such a different experience to view something in your own space. Living in a place like Maine where things are spread out, this is a great way to connect the dots.

What wise words do you carry with you into your practice?
I always think about something a friend told me in college when I was having a hard time with a painting, which was that it isn’t always important to make a good painting, just to make the next painting. I make really a lot of bad paintings but once and I while I make one that I like, and I think I have to make all those bad ones to get there.

What do you wish to communicate or achieve through your work?
Beauty, chaos, and a distillation of some kind of intuitive interpretation of my surroundings and experience. I want my paintings to play with recognizable but ambiguous forms, so you might see a cloud where someone else saw a tree, and then next time you look at the painting, you might see something else. That’s how I’d like it to be.