Born into the late 60’s era of psychedelic art with a neighbor who practiced batik, Kim Power developed an early love for decoration and an intuitive feeling for color.
She studied painting and drawing at James Madison University where she discovered the art of dying fabric through direct and indirect methods. Using these techniques in combination with the traditional forms of embroidery and quilting, she developed a personal language of narrative imagery in fibers.
These methods gave rise to her creation of “Story Boxes” in which she combined symbols of alchemy with fairytales and dream imagery. Early impulses to employ figures, inspired a body of work titled, “Women in Transformation”, in which she invented a biography for each female entity within the context of a mythological landscape.
Finding the need to expand her visual vocabulary, Kim then studied oil painting through private classes, later achieving an MFA degree in painting from the New York Academy of Art.
Power’s Vision Quest series embraces both her understanding of pattern and decoration and figuration in a hybrid of visionary expression, which challenges views on form and flatness. Inspired by early works of Byzantine tapestries and contemporary Street Art, she combines layers of imagery, which are interwoven in a technique of subtraction through addition, describing a personal narrative with mystical overtones.
“I work in layers of color, pattern and luminosity, in an additive/subtractive process that excavates memory and association. By reassembling imagery, I define my own personal visionary experience. I use mixed media, paint and alternative tools, finding my way in the process, often beginning with an initial idea of imagery and expanding on that, only to obliterate parts as a sign of the passage of time and erasure of memory.”
In her latest series of paintings, “This Land,” Power explores the notions of belonging and identity through landscape painting.
“Growing up in Southern California with summers spent camping in the California Redwoods, I developed a strong sense of the land as an entity in itself. I was both taught to revere and protect it. At the same time, I was exposed to levels of smog so thick I was not allowed to go out and play. We live in a symbiotic relationship with the environment. We are dependent upon it, its land, air and water, and it is equally dependent on us to be responsible stewards of it. Our relationship with nature has become dysfunctional and we have taken it for granted. This dichotomy has continually confused and astounded me. How, I have asked myself, can I make a difference? My answer to that call for response is to create empathy through the vehicle of aesthetics. My goal is to show others through my art that there is a reason to stop and consider our actions as they pertain to the environment—to preserve what defines and sustains us as individuals and as a species.”