BIO

Kristen van Diggelen Sloan received her BA in Visual Art from UCLA in 2006, and her MFA in Painting from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2009 where she received the prestigious Graduate Fellowship in Painting. She has exhibited her work nationally at Next, Art Chicago, the New Wright Gallery in Los Angeles, in San Francisco at The Headlands Center for the Arts,  The Diego Rivera Gallery and locally at The McColl Center for the Arts in Charlotte, NC. She has received numerous awards and nominations, and her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle, 7×7 Magazine and CHome Magazine among others. She relocated from San Francisco to the Carolinas in 2014, and currently lives and works in rural York County, SC.

 

 

ARTIST STATEMENT

 
“…beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and the devil are fighting there and the battlefield is the heart of man.” Fyodor Dostoevsky, Brothers Karamazov

 

My oil paintings are an exploration of “the interior life;” an attempt to visualize the invisible within each of us. I adopt Baroque virtuosity to create large-scale metaphorical portraits of a spiritual journey or condition.
 
I pursue nature’s deep design through current scientific revelations while also tracing the commonalties in mystical and contemplative practices found in all the world’s great religions. Mystical narratives nearly always transcend any type of institutionalism and speak of a spiritual universalism that I aim to address in a contemporary visual way.
 
I explore my ideas in painting through still life, landscape and figuration – adopting some elements from abstraction. I also make ceramic figurative sculptures and conceptual crafts.
 
My more recent ceramic work is inspired specifically by the Southern craft tradition of the face jug, and the early desert mothers (women often portrayed as both harlot and heroine, Babylon and Jerusalem). My current series of metallic mandala paintings are about struggle and transformation. Influenced by Eastern mandala configurations and functions, the paintings also hint at the mathematical order in nature (the radiuses of the concentric circles are divided by phi [golden ratio] to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd powers etc. until they disappear into the center), muqarnas in Islamic art and Christian halo forms. The pandemic, social unrest of our times, mental health concerns as well as autobiographical narratives are also present in the content.
 
I often look to Dutch and Spanish Baroque still life painting to peer, dimly, into the riddles of common experience; Bill Viola for engaging the spiritual in a contemporary context; Jay DeFeo for combining representation with abstraction, refinement with expressionism. The scale of my work functions within a similar discourse Mark Rothko used to describe his pictures: “…you are in it, it is not a reducing commanding experience, but one that is human and intimate.”