Kirstin Chappell


Kirstin Chappell is an artist based in New York City who explores the divisions between spoken language, printed word and the visual image. Chappell explores these significant disconnections in the media of photography, drawing, watercolor, ceramic sculpture and sound. In each instance the artist’s gestural abstract aesthetic presents contortions and blurs of iconic, figurative forms that reveal the subjective nature between language, meaning and image.

Chappell’s recent work focuses on the doublespeak of politics. “Wooing of Angela Merkel,” (2014) connects the silhouettes of Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and John Kerry. However this piece presents a stripped-bare construction, suggesting the devaluation of diplomacy and its lack of weighted meaning. Four additional wires and two silver-colored binder clips are installed throughout this three-panel triptych, and connect together generating a series of sounds. Chappell’s low-fi construction suggests viewer interaction within a process that is usually reserved and removed.

“Power Meeting,” and “Heads of State,” both from 2014, portray distorted portraits of politicians with red-rimmed eyes. This cinematic train-of-thought temporarily resolves itself in “Conflict Resolution,” (2014) where colorful, neon sipping-straws function as military camouflage that gives way to the black shape of a machine gun. Sardonic smiles of political leaders appear in the background, as a blur.

Kirstin Chappell’s art centers around the changing nature of the political portrait brought about by spoken, printed and written associations. Chappell completed art school in 1996, Magna Cum Laude, at the University of Minnesota in Duluth. The artist was featured in a group show at Greenwich House Pottery in 1997, and in 2014 her work appeared in “Just Politics,” and “Decorate. Embellish. Adorn,” at the ConArtist Gallery, located at 119 Ludlow Street in New York City. In 2015 Kirstin Chappell with Paul McRandle launched Phasm Press and designed its first publication The Annual, which includes collaborations between 23 artists and writers.