Artist Statement

I take advantage of paint’s physical form and its ability to transform flesh into smooth, lifelike, translucent planes or fast sweeping strokes that exit the body completely. The human body, especially the face, is intensely intimate. I use the human form and face to create references and personal communication to the viewer. My figures are in an environment that invites the viewer into their world through body language and the technical abstract process of the paint medium. I want the viewer to feel as if the canvas is itself an entire world made of paint.

The surfaces I create with paint on the flat canvas allow my subjects to fight against their own dimensionality, with the finished painting including both flat and three dimensional elements. I’m interested in odd or subtle gestures, and I try to paint in a way that illuminates each subject’s idiosyncrasies while allowing the mood to remain subjective to the viewer.

I believe that the physical application of paint is an abstract part of the work that should be enjoyed in its own right. The final artwork is also meant to capture the silent, but intense, personal moments I experience applying the paint while still remaining true to my subjects.


Kathy Irwin was born & raised in Oswego, NY, and graduated with a BFA in Painting from SUNY Potsdam. In 2012, she was awarded the Best of Show Award at the “Best Of” SUNY Student Art Exhibit at the New York State Museum in Albany, NY. In 2013, Kathy was honored to accept the Connor Meigs Art Award, which provided her the opportunity to have her first solo show at the Florence Mill Art Loft in Omaha, NE.