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Image: Lucia Hierro - El Costo de la Vida -Independent Art Fair - LatchKey Gallery

KIRSTEN KAY THOEN: Available Works

Artist Statement: 

My artwork is concerned with the impacts of a rampant digital culture and the dissociative effects of its inundation on everyday perceptions of nature and environment.  Given the accelerating role images play in shaping contemporary experiences of nature, there is a heightened value in considering the physicality of images.  I began to envision my images of natural sites and elements as having a life beyond their traditional two-dimensional planes, challenging the medias capacity to embody its subject, while reworking my images into experiential sculptural forms.

Through a process of embedding myself within phenomenal natural sites, such as California’s Redwood Forrest and Kauai’s volcanic landscape, I extensively photograph the landscapes and their elements, returning to my Brooklyn studio to study.  The images are methodically reworked into forms inspired by the nature they depict, utilizing structural elements such as wood and metal.  Often the sculptural works incorporate transparent image panels, which are internally lit.  The element of light adds a subtle life-like quality to the works.

My process reveals the photographic image is not the inherent end-point, but a catalyst for further contemplation, as I manifest nature-based imagery into symbolic forms. The fragmented nature of photography is made elicit and utilized as a tool.  Intrigue with crystallography, the fourth dimension, metaphysics, and architectural philosophies of visionaries Buckminster Fuller and Rudolph Steiner, inform the process.  Geometry functions as a metaphorical language for time, space, and matter.   The work attempts to encapsulate what Rudolph Steiner called “supersensible phenomena”.     

The photographic images are no longer mere depictions of nature, but vital forms of their own, calling forth the sites they derived from.  Together the works assemble a vision of a contemporary nature-culture that is at once futuristic and primitive, and within which the complex roles technology and the shifting ecologies of our planet play upon human connectivity to nature, in the digital era, is core.


Kirsten Kay Thoen was born in 1977 in Holladay, Utah, and is based in Brooklyn, NY.  She received a BA in Arts in Context from the New School’s Eugene Lang College, continued her studies internationally at The Royal Academy of Art in Den Hague, NL, and received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York. 

Thoen’s artwork has exhibited in New York by Humble Arts Foundation at the Chelsea Art Museum and Affirmation Arts, by Capricious Presents at Smack Mellon Gallery, and at Field Projects Gallery.  Among art fairs, her work has been curated into NEXT Chicago’s Special Projects and presented at SCOPE Basel, NADA Miami, and currently at SCOPE NY 2014 with Natalie Kates Projects.  Humble Arts Foundation awarded Thoen with the New Photography Grant, Spring 2010, and included her work in 31 Women in Art Photography 2010 and The Collector’s Guide to New Art Photography, Vol. 2, published in 2011.  Thoen’s works are in private collections in New York and France.