Kinnebrew Writing Homepage



Artists Statement 1998



Joseph Kinnebrew


Personal Philopsophy 2004 (always subject to change, revision or denial)


Drafted August 2004


I have been working professionally as a painter and sculptor for over forty years.  My work is frequently characterized as being unusually diverse both in media and content.  This diversity has presented problems of critical acceptance at various times in my career but critical acceptance in the art world is uneven rarely predictable and woefully undependable.  Perhaps the most recent confirmation of this is my acceptance, by invitation (for life), at age sixty into the Biennale Internazionale in Florence.  That exhibition was held in December of 2003.

My fabricated steel sculpture is generally minimalistic in style although that presently seems to be undergoing some change.  I have done very large-scale pieces including one in Detroit that is fifty feet square and seventy feet high.  My bronze work is usually organic and abstractly figurative if that is not a contradiction in terms.  It is reminiscent of Moore and Arp perhaps. I paint primarily two kinds of imagery.  The floral work is an exercise in pleasure and self-indulgence.  The surreal painting is by far the most difficult and for me: engaging.  Currently I am doing digital collage work, which is an extension of the surreal themes that have been with me all my life.

Over the years, I have had occasion to lecture and write about several aspects of art which include my work personally and areas where art parallels other human creative efforts, particularly science.  I regard my art as a very post-modern expression that emanates from a talent, which I cannot explain, and a disposition, which is even more mysterious.  I have been making art ever since I can remember and expect that I will continue to do this through out my entire life.

I believe that artists are icon makers.  This is historically observable when viewing art in this context.  Several rather ponderously cerebral and spiritual interpretations of art are possible and nearly everyone has some opinion about art regardless of their background and/or qualifications.  Essentially, this leads me to conclude that in part art is a service business.  Historically artists create images that reflect the present including our understanding of the past.  This facilitates the notion that we, as contemporary people, might if not understand then at least we can believe in the future.  Philosophically I can and do accept art as an expression of science using artistic rather that scientific methods of inquiry.  One difference here is that eventually all science may be art not the other way around.

My philosophy about art can be explained on several different levels.  The most basic of which simply says that art is a shared vision.  By necessity, some of what I do as an artist must include business considerations since the connection between sales and inventory and their relationship to my survival as an artist are basic and not difficult to understand.  Art is a passion and passion is unsettling to many.  Reviewing my efforts to date I consider that art is not so much a pleasure as it is a way of life and choice has little to do with it.  Instead, as an artist my experience is that the course toward satisfaction and fulfillment is very clear.  The methods, means and ways of success are less clear.  Artists truly see the world differently than their non-artist counterparts and this speaks clearly to the value of diversity and points of view.

Art like anything else that is worthwhile can be difficult.  This is so for makers of art and consumers of art.  The enduring value of art is that it has amply proven its hisrorical value.  Without art all indications are, we will be forgotten.