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Mapping the Work of Alan Kitchen

By caitlin on November 18, 2016

Tonight, November 18, from 6-9pm, we’re excited to present Alan Kitchen’s latest work as a part of the West Michigan Street Art Walk. We sat down with Alan to talk about the show opening Friday night and what inspires his work.

Alan describes his art as “an extension of how I think”. His inspiration for the show Darkness and A Little Light was drawn in part from his favorite author W.G. Sebald. Sebald introduced him to a whole new way of drawing connections between literature, history, and poetics. Since discovering Sebald, Alan has changed the way he reads, tells a narrative in his paintings, and relates one to the other. This show is an expression of the amalgam of those connections. Although not necessarily obvious to the viewer, he hopes his work may challenge the viewer to spend some time with it and deepen their understanding. The melancholic, the sublime—the pursuit of something to the point of obsession, this is the complexity that captivates Alan in his work. His art is very personal in this way, because Alan is the only one with access to the map linking these works together. But, even though the viewer may be challenged by these juxtapositions, there is an obvious dialogue amongst the paintings just asking the viewer to connect the dots.

Not only does Alan find great inspiration from literature, but he’s also pulling from artists like Luc Tuymans and Victor Man. These two artists not only appeal to Alan through their painting techniques, they also play with how they draw parallels or shift contexts in a way that has the viewer see things differently. They draw you in to understand it by placing the narrative in a new perspective.

Alan seeks inspiration from all these sources and more. He may ruminate on certain ideas for years. Because they are a direct reaction to his personal research, reading, writing, and traveling, the connections reveal themselves in a way that no one might expect.

Please check out this spectacular collection of work. Violinist, Robin Cox, will perform live, and there will be much more art on view at the River West Art Alley and the pop-up gallery at Super Tortas.

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