Kathryn Keller Larkins

My work explores questions of the individual experience within the group experience. When I paint, I start from a photograph or a sketch, usually very rough, because it is more often an atmosphere or a quality of light or movement that I am really inspired by.

     I create the composition and surfaces with layers of washes, spattering, and drips built up over time. By lifting and spraying, I also sculpt back into the surfaces I’ve created and reveal the history of the layers. I hang the painting in different orientations while I work. It is my experience that every brushstroke, every gesture, every mark remains in some way visible or sensible to the viewer, and leaves an impression behind. I love that watercolor has something of its own agency…the paths of the paint, the visible history of the movement of the washes – these give the works a living, organic quality.

    We move through life in families, in traffic, in cultures. What is possible within those experiences? Recently, I have been drawn to the moments of transportation – waiting at an airport, merging on the highway, or even walking the streets. What happens when we travel? How do we move within a group? What happens when we stay and build?



New York City. The individual experience here is continually lived out against a dramatic backdrop of the movement. A train pulls in and a river of people flow out into the station. A light changes and taxis bolt like horses at the bell. An airplane lifts off, the noise recedes, and the view opens across the monumental push of glass and steel rising out of the water below. I have been drawn particularly to these moments of transportation – of journey, reflection, and possibility – as they capture how we move and are moved here each day. 


In my artistic process, I am inspired by the reception of the paper to the water, the movement of the water and the pigment, the way air can force or fix the paint – and the chance to combine these with observations about humanity. I am inspired in the same way by New York. Living here is such a powerfully physical experience. I am ignited by the energy of the city’s constant evolution. I make my way into the surging movement of the crowds. I round a corner and the wind off the river nearly closes my eyes. These paintings open them to see – remarkable beauty, journeys, and history.