Dominic Kennedy’s painting style encases a strong dynamism as it derives great inspiration from ambiguous forms and lines. Special attention is given to detailed geometric shapes entitled to de-emphasise conventional boundaries regarding the painting outcome. Instead the artist strives to communicate his inner imaginative microcosm on canvas through a juxtaposition of colour, line and rhythm. Multicoloured complex compositions characterise his work that elegantly matches with an expressive abstraction given in a recognisable fragmented geometry. For example in paintings, such as Slowly Fading Forms (2016) or Red Window (2017), the artist’s patterns demonstrate a remarkable interplay on colour relationships, the intelligence of imperfect geometries as well as the virtuosity behind the visualisations together in a united framework.
Words: Yannis Kostarias
The colour pallet selection reveals an additional potential enabling alternative view on Kennedy’s paintings; whether harder or softer hues, tones and shades, the artist’s abstract arrangements differently render intense feelings to each work. By deconstructing his paintings into small or even tiny shivers and fragments of light and colours, he turns his canvases into another creative space where new polymorphic shapes (triangles, circles or squares) and visual effects take place. Besides his technicality to produce such painterly illusions, Kennedy, at another level, thrives to shatter conventions of orthodox interpretation and visual perception. Showcasing flexibility with time, while dealing with the elaborate painting process, the British artist enjoys an artwork’s development; he particularly mentions that “he does not want to arrive at the image too quickly but rather work towards it, discovering it as I go. This enables the work to have the kind of layers and history of marks that I’m after. I want to find the image and incorporate accident and chance and ultimately end up somewhere unexpected”.
In Kennedy’s work, the underlying emotive involvement and its compelling sensation comes from thoughtful deformities and diverse twists that are suggested into his patterns. The majority of his paintings seem to follow this style of sensation of layering, introducing hidden creative tension and revealing remarkable qualities of patterns and symbols. The variety of shapes and forms highlight elements of mathematical synthesis or precision within the final art framework. Also, in the internal structure the colour interaction sports a major role, while one chromatic territory enters into another producing new polymorphic landscapes on canvas. Grids, angles or diagonal arrangements frequently seem to coexist closely related to each other indicating that asymmetry and repetitive motifs are both capable to excel spatial ambiguity at an alluring mode.
Kennedy’s body of work presents object-free creations bringing in mind references, such as Wassily Kandnisky, whose “inner necessity” empowered his visual expression on his prolific work, or other master painters with Cubist aesthetics, such as Picasso or Braque, who purely celebrated manifold geometric forms in space.
Dominic Kennedy (b. 1972) is a British artist who lives and works in London. He received his B.F.A. at the Winchester School of Art in Hampshire, UK. He also completed his M.F.A. in Painting at the Royal College of Art in London in 2004. His work has been exhibited in London and Berlin in museums and art galleries, such as the Whitechapel Gallery, the Kunstquartier Bethanien, the FOLD gallery and the Bermondsey Project Space. Recently, he also set up a gallery space, called Ridgeway Road, in south London with his friend Howard Dyke.
In his interview with Art Verge, Dominic Kennedy shares his approach on his abstract art and other art issues, while providing some very interesting insights about his daily life. Check it out!
Art Verge: Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
Dominic Kennedy: I like to start off by drawing with crayons and collaging paper onto the surface on the canvas. I don’t want to arrive at the image too quickly but rather work towards it, discovering it as I go. This enables the work to have the kind of layers and history of marks that I’m after. I want to find the image and incorporate accident and chance and ultimately end up somewhere unexpected. Simple forms; houses, heads, clouds and flowers appear out of this process. Later on I’ll incorporate felt or wood onto the surface.
AV: How would you define your work in few words (ideally in 3 words)?
DK: Collage, paint, canvas.
AV: Can you name any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?
DK: Floretta Emma Warfel, Clementine Hunter, Rose Wylie, Joe Bradley, Paul Klee, Philip Guston, Henri Matisse.
AV: Creating a new painting can be a solitary process. If this applies to you, when you concentrate on a new artwork does it affect your social life at all?
DK: Not really, if I have a deadline or I’m really into the work I’ll just go to the studio.
AV: How do you know when an artwork is finished?
DK: I think there’s a moment where you realise that the work demands little or no intervention. Then it’s a question of leaving it a while and returning to it with fresh eyes. It’s usually after this point that I can tell if it needs anything. If it doesn’t then I can think about showing it.
AV: What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space like, and how does it affect your process?
DK: It’s actually pretty small but large enough to make the work I want to. I quite like the intensity of being surrounded by large paintings.
AV: Which exhibition did you visit last?
DK: Cezanne’s Portraits at the NPG in London.
AV: What do you hope audiences will take from your work?
DK: A visual experience, feel something…
AV: What does your mum think about your art?
DK: She’s likes it.
AV: Are you a morning person or a night owl?
DK: Night owl.
AV: Is the glass half empty or half full?
DK: Half full.
AV: Which are your plans for the near future?
DK: I am currently working towards another solo exhibition in London this year.