Kim West is a painter whose visual arts practice incorporates studio painting, mural making, and installation work activated by collaborative performance.
The NY Times has called West’s mural work, “dreamlike,” and in scope, her public projects range from murals rendered on intimately sized wall corners, to expanses of 5-story-high building façades, to installations that interact with structures and sites found in nature and in public gathering spaces.
West’s work engages with memory – creating fractured realities that bridge gaps and pin down wisps of ether. With an oft-used optimistic, rose-colored-glasses base palette of saturated Technicolors grounded with psychedelic fluorescents, washy landscapes and loosely rendered botanical motifs become recurring, allegorical events.
West’s studio exploration involves the making of ‘layer-paintings,’ a process that functions as memory-marker: raw canvas is placed directly on top of canvas, on top of paper, on top of wood – or in some combination there-of. Marks and gestures made on top layers bleed and soak into whatever is beneath. When the layers are eventually peeled and separated, that which has seeped through is revealed in the new work of the under layers. In this way, the literal memories of painting the ephemerally based memory-paintings are captured and documented in the physical form of layer-paintings. These layer-paintings are ultimately deconstructed and re-contextualized, destroyed, or preserved – depending. This process is captured in time-lapse video documentation, and in collaborative performance.
West’s work is collected and commissioned by everyday people, art collectors, cities, corporations, galleries, and educational institutions, including a mural commission by Hauser Wirth gallery, and mural documentation in exhibition at the Skirball Cultural Center. West’s murals can be found throughout Los Angeles, as well as in countless films, television shows,commercials, music videos, and ubiquitously in Instagram-user selfies.
West graduated from the painting department at Rhode Island School ofDesign, following additional studies at Smith College, Amherst College, and theInstituto de Allende.
Kim works in Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband and two children.