An untitled piece by Kim Niehans
1 WHAT LIES BENEATH
Two art events happening this weekend provide an interesting juxtaposition: While the Art San Diego Contemporary Art Fair’s taking over the 25,000-square-foot Balboa Park Activity Center (for more on that,click here), artist Kim Niehans is filling tiny Eighteen O Five Gallery (1805 Columbia St. in Little Italy)—all 100 square feet of it—with When Words Fall Away, an installation of 15 of her paintings.
It opens with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8, and will be on view through Jan. 10.
Niehans describes her work as “a combination of realism and abstraction.” Indeed, there’s a tension in her paintings between what’s immediately visible—animals are a key subject—and what’s going on just underneath the surface. One of her large-scale paintings of two rabbits, for instance, has a foundation of bold, almost aggressive, brushstrokes of reds and yellows. This sort of primal subtext in her work emerged when Niehans was pregnant with her first child. Bombarded with information and advice, she had to learn to push it aside and trust her instincts in an almost animalistic way.
“And I started thinking about that in the bigger picture of people and how we sort of deal with that primal part of ourselves and how there’s a lot of fear and distrust of that,” she says. “We medicate ourselves and discourage displays of strong emotion…. I feel like we need to remember where we come from and we need more of a balance.”
It’s this balance between intellect and emotion that she tries to convey in her work.
Niehans will be at the reception to chat with folks about her art; the gallery’s small space means you’ll likely find her outside.
“I’m trying to create a moment of people having a primal reaction to the image that they’re seeing,” she says. “I’m hoping that they’ll feel that because that’s the basis of what I’m talking about—and then they’ll come out and we can chat.” eighteenofivesd.com,kimniehansart.com