Visual art can be an incredibly powerful vehicle for tackling many serious issues of the times, calling attention to the horrors of war or bigotry, or gender and class discrepancies. As an incredibly powerful vehicle, it is also versatile, as capable of glorifying some of the most drool-worthy beauty of this world we all share. Emerging artist and painter Alexandra Kenitzer, self-described as “fixated on pretty and complex objects,” has been leaning towards the latter lately, creating a series inspired by a lovely-looking thing that some use to deal with some ugly things.
“I am intrigued by the craft of cocktails and the celebration that goes along with the consumption of the beverage. I see cocktails as a way of celebrating in any sort of occasion,” Kenitzer said. “I find that they are indulgent because they are so beautifully put together and have such a presence.”
The native of Owensboro sees creative possibilities in and out of her studio, whether inspiration arrives from fashion, pastries or her recent series. “I favor creative mixtures … they have a demure quality and we recognize them because they are timeless.”
A process-oriented artist, Kenitzer likes a large canvas, laboriously executing minute details that communicate the finer qualities of her images. She lovingly lavishes color on both her objects of desire and their backdrops, mixing oils to get the color combinations just right. She cites Kehinde Wiley as one to “obsess over,” specifically how he uses patterns in his coveted portraits.
Her “Martini” has a multi-dimensional effect, eagerly jumping in front of the viewer to create a chaotic space where a cocktail and the wallpaper behind it fuse to suggest a zebra. Yet her “Bloody Mary” and “Pina Colada” use calmer, far more open spaces like a veteran jazz bassist to highlight their few, very important details. Meanwhile, her self-assured donuts stand out against contrasting backgrounds.
Kenitzer paints by hand in a consistent style, varying only when a certain piece requires more – or less – impact. She spends most of her time focused on backgrounds, noting, “Being as close to perfect or perfect is what the pattern painting is about. It becomes more about the complexity of how fine the lines are.”
Hometown: Owensboro Kentucky
Education: BFA, Oil Painting, University of Louisville Hite Art Institute
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Written by Peter Berkowitz. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.