New York based artist Kirsten Kay Thoen (b. 1977) is interested in the complex roles image making plays in shaping relationships to nature in contemporary culture. Reworking her images of landscapes and natural elements into experiential forms, Thoen places personal and cultural value in the act of transforming the photographic picture plane out from the digital and back into the physical. Raised in a family of adopted children in Salt Lake City, Utah, she dialed into larger questions of identity and her connections to nature at a young age. On early trips through Southern Utah, Thoen recognized an attraction to otherworldliness in nature that continues to compel her travels to experience and study phenomenal sites. She received her MFA at the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 2009.
With her deft use of materials and geometry, Thoen explores the mystical nature of chemical bonds and the intersections between the material/immaterial, physical/metaphysical, and mathematic/spiritual. She imagines symbiotic relationships between her nature-based images and forms, often utilizing internal light sources to play upon the atmospheric and energetic qualities of light within her images. The interplay between representation and abstraction dialogues with “abstract geologies” established by earthwork artists of the 60’s/70’s through the lens of the digital era. Thoen’s works contemplate concepts of time and space, as if time capsules at once from the past and the future or vehicles of the unknown.
In May 2014, Thoen journeyed through Iceland and launched Harmonic Tremors, an ongoing project focusing her practice on the regenerative and otherworldly geology of Iceland’s volcanic/geothermal landscapes. Harmonic Tremors will develop into a series of installation experiences with photo-sculptural and video-sculptural elements. In the winter of 2014, Thoen’s first large-scale works Crystalline Pendulum & Crystalline Pyramid exhibited at Galeria Melissa Soho curated by Natalie Kates Projects. Her work has also exhibited in New York at Gallery Nine5, Bernarducci Meisel, Field Projects, Affirmation Arts, and the Chelsea Art Museum and has been presented at art fairs including NEXT Chicago’s Special Projects, NADA Miami, SCOPE Basel, SCOPE New York, and Art Southampton.