Abstraction/Ancestors/Paintings

Multi-media works by Jennie Kiessling

January 6, 2023—January 27, 2023. Reception is January 6 from 5-8 PM during the Artwalk. Jennie will be there to talk about her work!

Abstraction/Ancestors/Paintings has a companion show at the Laramie County Library, Abstraction/Ancestors/Altered Books, also opening January 6. There will be a tour and forum at the Library in the Willow room on Thursday, January 19 from 6–8 pm for participants to gain a new understanding of family history and art with artist Jennie Kiessling. This event will feature a discussion on ancestry and abstract art followed by a tour of Jennie’s exhibit in the library. You are encouraged to bring family artifacts such as letters or diaries as part of the discussion. 

Jennie Kiessling’s small works defy standard expectations of presentation and access for the viewer. She relies on the fragility of taped cardboard and ephemera from the early 1900’s as a substrate. The cultural symbolism in the work is the sinew of her ancestors and their continuous presence. At the same time the work recognizes the formal and spiritual history of geometric abstraction.

Formalities of abstraction and the intimacies of being raised as an Italian American, seemingly separate entities, are inextricably woven within the existence of the artist’s work. Ultimately, this expression strikes a universal chord. Kiessling is one of many individuals who have lived in and out of a culture of metaphor and mysticism while stumbling uncomfortably through life denying particular truths of that self. This action of denial is not deliberate; it is the result of layers of time that compartmentalize an original state of being that eventually oozes out of cracks in one’s daily life.

These gouache, graphite and taped works are intimate in order to draw the viewer in. Reminiscent of the structure of a prayer book, dedicated to orphans, made by her Grandfather; tape has its own geometry that is necessary within the work. Abstraction is used as a portal for the viewer to find a neutral space through which to enter the work.    

Below: Untitled Fragment by Jennie Kiessling   

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