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The Transformative Surreal Paintings of Joseph Kinnebrew

This is a vibrant series of personal, transformative, extremely surreal paintings by Joseph Kinnebrew. Known for his extensive work in the field of public art, Kinnebrew has also gained recognition for rich, symbolic, visionary painting, incorporating archetypal symbols and culturally-rich traditions in his work. Kinnebrew’s vision of the world necessitates that metaphor serve as a motive power underlying all images and forms; as a result, recurrent metaphors such as the checkerboard, wings and the color white, all representing process of birth and transformation, appear in his paintings.

The fluidity of Kinnebrew’s paintings, crossing between cultures and from conscious to subconscious states and back, is rooted in the fact that as a transgendered artist, Kinnebrew knows no categorical boundaries between genders, as well as states of mind. Irreverent and determined, Kinnebrew’s paintings and sculptures transcend the bureaucrat’s blanks and boundaries, and seek to explore and experience freedom in a surreal realm. In his startling, ongoing series of abstract floral paintings, a walk down the primrose path becomes a transcendent, spiritual experience, while his more figurative surreal work takes the viewer on a journey into a secret reality.

Kinnebrew, who often speaks publicly on his work, has remarked, “The world of surrealism is one of the richest and most rewarding places I know. In this place the language is complicated and multilayered, but… there is a sense of unity… because (of the) naturalness of the experience.”


Robert Mahoney
New York City


Robert Mahoney has been an art writer in New York for over fifteen years, writing for such publications as ARTS (1985-92) FLASH ART (1988-94) Contemporanea, Tema Celeste and Cover magazines. He currently writes for TIME OUT New York (since 1995), (since 1996), and contributes to and d'ART International. Mahoney is also the author of numerous catalog essays on contemporary artists, his writing having been presented in conjunction with exhibitions around the world. From 1994-99 Mahoney served as public information officer at the Queens Museum of Art, Queens, New York City, where he brought high-profile coverage to exhibitions of contemporary art.


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Robert Mahoney writing about Joseph Kinnebrew's Surreal Paintings


Joseph Kinnebrew