Artist of the Month is a monthly interview series where Tegnerforbundet introduces a member who is represented with artwork in our Sales Department. With this initiative, we want to give readers an insight into the members' artistic work and highlight the importance of drawing in their work.
Heidi Skjerve Kennedy (1954) is an artist who continuously explores and develops her own artistic language. Her work is characterized by an exploration of the immediate and intuitive. Kennedy's artworks often consist of horizontal and vertical lines drawn with colored ink on paper. The format and paper set the framework, while touch and the action of the hand are transformed into artworks characterized by precision and repetitive lines.
Kennedy has had many solo exhibitions nationally and internationally, and her work is an important part of various art collections such as Rogaland Art Museum, Vestlandske Kunstindustrimuseum, Nasjonalmuseet, Nordnorsk kunstmuseum, as well as various private collections. Kennedy began her artistic education in 1978 at Bergen School of Arts and Crafts, later the Academy of Fine Arts in Trondheim and Vestlandets Kunstakademi in Bergen. The artist now lives and works in Oslo.
TF: Heidi, can you tell us a little about your artistic work?
HSK: My art education started at the Bergen School of Arts and Crafts in 1978. I quit after 1 year and continued at Vestlandets Kunstakademi and Kunstakademiet in Trondheim (1979-85) was mainly used for painting. Since 1992, I have alternated between knitting wall objects and drawing. The transparency and precision of the knitting is also evident in the drawings, often through the choice of tracing paper and graphic paper.
TF: Why do you draw? Tell us a little about your work process.
HSK: An alternation between freehand hatching and the use of a ruler where the lines are placed close to and within each other. This tension between graphic, haptic means and the color-based and optically atmospheric, attracts me and leads me further.
An inner logic, an inherent power that carries events forward. What the hand needs to fill time. A condition that demands action. I resort to an extension of myself to get through this need for action. Thus, this condition is expressed - expressed through action. Through touch/action, the work exists.
TF: What or who inspires you?
HSK: Politics, literature and history are important as a foundation, but when it comes to art and artists, I'm probably rooted in modernism. When I was 19, I went to Tate Britain in London and saw Newman, Still and Rothko. This made such a strong impression that it has been a reference in my own work ever since. Of course, it's sometimes the earliest traces of human history where I find the most rewarding. Otherwise, there are artists who touch one's own field of perception, and who both inspire and irritate. I'm not saying that the work is necessarily similar in terms of expression to what I do myself. It just means that I have to look deeper, closer to the core of what I'm capable of doing myself. Otherwise, I have a strong image in my mind of my mother sitting and knitting/crocheting all the time. Maybe not inspiration, but imprinting.
TF. What does drawing mean to you in your work?
HSK: The thing about drawing is that every trace you leave on the paper/plane is determined in relation to a defined field, a whole.
The contact theme that I have been working with is the essence and foundation of what I do. I seek the simplest and most direct contact with the materials. I work serially where an immediate action/building, binds or collects time. The tracing and the healing power of repetition. The attraction of the weave, the bond that lies in the ground and the necessity of repetition. Being, sincerity, continuity and presence. A greater or lesser degree of depletion takes place. Recently, the work has been influenced by icons, prayer and incantations.
TF: Tell us a little about your work in Tegnerforbundet's sales department!
HSK: They are from a series drawn in a book entitled Fold 2017. They are done with pencil and marker, and with the help of a ruler. I was thinking about church rooms and found the height format in the drawing book. This format helps me to look away from the landscape and look upwards. Doubling, repetition and color contrasts give them power.