Explosions of color, pops of texture, and layer upon layer of awesomeness. Rebecca Kane’s artwork is all of that and then some. Taking time out to explore her work, one should expect to be taken on a journey. A journey through the senses is probably the first cliché you’d expect, but it is so much more than that. The color theory put into Kane’s work is all but taken for granted by the casual observer, certainly anyone could see the amazing and bold swaths of vibrant reds, blues, yellows, and all the colors those create when mixed together in the voids; However, the student of color theory and composition would see that the attention to the energy surging from the canvas comes from Kane’s creative wisdom, not happenstance.
When we met this amazing artist, she was exhibiting at her latest in the uber-impressive list of galleries she has shown in, including the National Academy Museum. This particular show she was wrapping up at the time was at one of our favorite contemporary art galleries, Dacia Gallery, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The show was titled “Figments” and the piece that we’d consider the star of the show was titled “PLUR”, noticeably more intense, but no less stunning than another earlier piece that had captured our hearts entitled “Rio!”. “Rio!” Was part of a group show that Kane participated in a month prior at the Elga Wimmer gallery in Chelsea. “Rio!” captured the viewer’s imagination and transported them back to a time of unexpected joy and the feeling that came along with that. Through the intense colors leaped that exuberance, and yet the foreboding swaths of darkness introduced that tepid anticipation of whether or not the joy would last. An entire emotion wrapped into one amazing painting. That’s what our editor experienced, and the most exciting question is, what will Kane’s work conjure for you, the reader?
Let’s take a moment to meet Rebecca Kane; this brilliant artist was gracious enough to let us into her studio and take a peek behind the canvas. She shares her inspirations, aspirations, and the bold world that exists within her creations. Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen…
Meet Rebecca Kane
Q: Thank you for taking the time to talk with us Rebecca, let’s begin with your “how”. How did you get started as an artist? Talk a bit about how you came to realize your art as a gift to the masses, a professional venture if you will…
A: Thank you. I started painting about ten years ago. I was watching a documentary on MOMA and one of my earliest memories is going there and being entranced with Claes Oldenburg’s Soft Fan. I had been to other museums before that, but never seen people creating art from imagination rather than realism. The documentary inspired me; so off I went to an art supply store and taught myself how to paint. My friends pretty quickly wanted paintings after I started making them, and I realized that this was a good way of sharing myself with others.
Q: Take us on a mental tour of your studio space. What do you love most about your creative space? Talk about how your creative environment affects your art/ your style…
A: My studio is near Columbus Circle in NYC. I paint next to a large window that looks out at Central Park and the Time Warner Building, which is entirely mirrored. Depending on the weather, the building either reflects fluffy snowstorms, gloomy weather or brilliant azure skies. And there are a lot of colorful protests there. So the weather and environment have a direct effect on what ends up on the canvas. I don’t tend to paint in dark colors, but a rainy day might influence me to drip and spray onto the canvas instead of sweeping brushstrokes. The bloom of spring inspires me into floral palettes and matching painting titles.
Q: Your artwork is rather intense…I absolutely love the colors, the textures, and the way they essentially transform the space around them with a very vibrant energy. What favorite materials do you work with when creating your art? What is your creative atmosphere when you create (loud, silent, ambient noises)? Talk about your creative process. Are there planning/sketching/conceptual stages involved or do you just jump in and get after it?
A: I’ve found that the more planning I put into a painting the worse it turns out, so the only plan I make is to layer a lot of crushed garnet onto the prepared canvas to add texture before putting any paint on. Then I pick which colors I will be using for the work and it is almost as if the painting makes itself after that. All I have to do is decide when it is finished – that is the hard part. Apart from the garnet I also use acrylic paint and gouache, sometimes enamel and spray paint. Depending on the viscosity of the paint, it will seep into the layers of garnet or it will glaze over, all producing different effects that look interesting.
Q: Your pieces you hung at the Elga Wimmer show “Five Senses+1” are probably my favorite pieces of yours. The one that stands out in my mind is the larger rectangular piece with the brilliant bleeds and blends with a dark figure emanating from behind the textural madness (in a good way), almost representing the soul of the piece itself. Can you talk a little bit about the inspiration behind the painting? You mentioned that you had not previously shown it because you had loved how it looked in your home. Also… talk a bit about how you feel that your style has developed since you began creating?
A: Ah, that painting is called Rio! With an explanation point. I had a really bad experience with a moving company that vanished with everything I ever owned, including my paintings and supplies. A lot of the stuff turned up in a warehouse over a year later, but during that period of loss and disappointment in the human race I stopped painting entirely. Rio! was made about a year and a half after the mover debacle. I make happy art and this piece was a sincere representation of resiliency and capability of letting disappointment go and moving on to better things. I titled it after a place famous for celebration and carnival. And since then I have been more successful and prolific than ever with my work. It was a real turning point in my creativity.
Q: Can you recall and would you talk about your most recent burst of inspiration? Did it come at an unusual place or time? Do you ever put yourself in a particular situation/environment to try and attract ideas or inspiration?
A: I draw my inspiration from interesting color combinations that I see around the city: sometimes it is the nature of Central Park, sometimes street graffiti, sometimes it is the night lighting in different neighborhoods. I take a lot of photos and before I pick the colors for a new canvas I flip through them to see if anything stands out as a combination that I want to explore.
Q: Can you talk a bit about your recent show at Dacia Gallery NYC? What was the highlight of the show for you? What made you smile? What made you gasp/cringe/retort/etc.? What do you ultimately hope that the audience takes away from their time spent viewing your art?
A: My recent show at Dacia Gallery was my first solo exhibition. When I walked up to the gallery the day of the opening I saw a bright glow of art coming from within and out to the street. People that came to the show all said that they felt energy and happiness from the colors pouring out of the gallery before they even got inside. And that’s exactly what I want my art to do for people, so the show was a success.
Q: Being an artist myself I know how deeply personal some aspects of our process are, and also that there are those times we wish we could reach out to our audience and give them a better context of our passion, so thank you for being so open with all of us. I know the audience will all want to know where/when they can see your work currently? What is the best way to find out where you will be exhibiting next (Website, Facebook, etc.)
A: I am exhibiting a series of new paintings at Ceres Gallery starting on December 1st. Also I will be exhibiting at the Sonia Gechtoff Gallery from November 19th to December 13th. Both are in NYC. I’m really excited about sharing this new work; it is some of my favorite that I have ever made. Please come check it out! I post frequently on Facebook and Instagram, but my website has a full list of upcoming and recent shows.