Whereas most young people who wend their way out of New Mexico for college take the win and move on with their lives, something about the area kept calling to local multi-media artist Kat Kinnick while she was pursuing her art degree at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore.

 

“That first year [of college] was exhilarating and really new and exciting, but I wanted to come back for all the visual inspirations,” Kinnick, who grew up in New Mexico, tells SFR. “I came back, I think, for the same reason a lot of artists choose to come out here—it’s so expansive and the light is so special; the smells and the quality of color and combinations. There’s so much more nature.”

 

That knack for nature finds its way into much of Kinnick’s work, including the ceramics for which she’s been so popular in recent years, but for her Abundance/Impermanence solo show at Hecho Gallery, Kinnick returned to her first love: painting. From a small studio near Lone Butte, she has created dreamlike interpretations of New Mexico wildlife and landscapes. The works convey a familiarity with the area, but double down on flora and fauna found within the dense New Mexico oases dotted across the arid landscape. You’ll recognize the feel and flavor in a Kinnick painting, but the longer you look, the more you’ll find weirdly unfamiliar elements. Perhaps this is a dash of wish fulfillment or even idealism, but it works a kind of magic that somehow feels nostalgic and new all at once.

 

Kinnick appears at Hecho this week to talk inspiration, process and execution—a winning combo.

“It feels like a nice and satisfying leveling up for me,” Kinnick explains of her new body of work. “It’s something I’ve been doing my whole life, which I hold really dear and precious.” (Alex De Vore)

 

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