We Are Animals, You and I
Francis Calimlim on the artwork of Kim Niehans
One of the infinite reasons an artist makes art is the act and feeling of liberation. Freedom through the act of expressing one's self while conveying specific experiences simultaneously can produce highly charged, powerful yet sentimental images. Such is the case for San Diego artist Kim Niehans. Using water and dry media, she depicts open ended narratives of animals through the combination of expressive realism and abstraction. Niehans experiments with and on her surfaces – drawing, painting, sanding, rubbing, and dripping on canvases, paper, and old text book pages. In her venture to communicate the primal rawness and animality that is inherent within each and every one of us, she reminds us of the nature we all come from and sometimes forget living in our new age of mass media, information, and technology.
Looking through her work and reading her statements on her website and blog, I was impressed with the amount of delicacy Niehans treats each of her work. Her animals are painted with care with precise yet expressive line work and brush strokes. Her backgrounds are meaty, blocks of color reminiscent of Clifford Still meets Mary Frankenthaler. These aren't just animals propped on top of a background of color; these animals are integrated beautifully and almost eerily in a modern day setting. Their world, the human world, we are all a part of the same world and we all have a story behind us to tell.
See more of her work at http://www.kimniehansart.com and at the opening of "When Words Fall Away" A Site Specific Installation at 1805 Gallery Nov. 8 from 6-9pm.
1805 Gallery is located on 1805 Columbia Street San Diego, Ca 92101