Desiree Warren (Drape), 2017, aluminum, vinyl, 24 x 24 inches, Courtesy the artist © Desiree Warren
Life as an Artist: Making it Work in Kansas City
Cheryl Eve Acosta
Thursday, September 28
5:00 p.m. Cash bar
6:00 p.m. Panel discussion, moderated by Barbara O'Brien,
Exhibition Curator and Executive Director of Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, in cooperation with the Kansas City Chapter of National
Written by Barbara O'Brien, Exhibition Curator and Executive Director of Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
Desiree Warren infuses an irreverence into her paintings that I cannot resist. Her instinct for combining materials creates a unique artistic vocabulary that bridges design, Pop-and Eco-culture. Outside the windows of her Hyde Park studio-a spacious room in the back of her home-is shed and a yard filled with recycled and gathered materials waiting to be turned into art.
Her senior sculpture project at the University of Kansas resulted in "a giant, wood carved, and anthropomorphic thing" related to growing up on eighty wooded acres. More important to the development of the work in Women to Watch, however, was a series of guerrilla sited street signs that showed a sense of humor and disruption. "I was doing a side project making fake street signs. I wondered if the recognition [for the viewer] was by signs [the shape] or by the reading[the text]." She changed "bide route" to "dyke route" and danger voltage" to "danger cleavage" and installed them in a park in Lawrence. The signs were removed, but Warren was allowed to retrieve them and took the opportunity to ask where official city signage material is sourced. Her discovery that an Ottawa business provides aluminum for street signs become the point of departure for the works on view. Aluminum became the support upon which her paintings would be created. "I'm not using fire," she shared, "but it is definitely metal."
Warren's artistic vocabulary combines these aluminum supports with vinyl die-cut into "orzo" shapes- a form she developed over seral years- and hand applied. The process also includes many layers of paint, either spray or brushed, and sanding, using resist and sgraffito which lends an element of mystery to the viewing experience.
Drape (2017) creates a tone-on-tone depth with the paint application process: "I did a white spray-on primer. Three layers of white or cream and darker white. I sand between the layers of the three shades of white. Titanium acrylic is hand-brushed and then also sanded." In Flow/Spark (2017) Warren painted the panel a blue then applied transparent vinyl to create visual layers. "I painted over with yellows and greens and then sanded a halo with an orbital sander [to] leave a nice shadow. ... I like the tension of leaving space or an edge. It adds a tension to the story."
Desiree Warren (Flow), 2017, (Spark) 2017, aluminum, paint, vinyl
Desiree Warren (Family of Four 1-4), 2017, aluminum, paint, vinyl