artist statement

...the sum being greater than its parts

I am a visual artist and I’m excited and inspired by both the natural and man-made environments in which we live and grapple: the beauty and the chaos, the harmony and the dissonance—my responses to them are visceral and channeling them onto large-format canvases is my best way to express that. My work is a stream of consciousness and I am concerned with creating work that results in finding the essence of something beyond our exact knowing—something intangible, yet existential; something mysterious, yet relatable; the sum being greater than its parts.


I work in water-based mediums that include acrylics, charcoal, pencil, graphite and occasionally collage elements. The quick drying time of acrylic paints and mediums allows me to create many layers while maintaining spontaneity. I often start with a gesture or mark to ‘activate’ the canvas then continue unconsciously—adding and subtracting—until the relationships of line, shape and color start to speak their destiny. There are many moments of reflection to ‘see’ and ‘hear’ where these nascent marks and colorations want to go as I continue this ‘call-and-response’ dance. I work in series and the color palette I choose often determines the series’ direction: Quiet and refined? Bold and raucous? Perhaps a combination of the two—explored until I have exhausted the fresh possibilities and am ready to take my curiosity elsewhere.


Katy Kuhn is a Bay Area native, a third generation Californian and has lived in Marin for over 20 years. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Fine Arts, and after numerous corporate jobs, reengaged with her art by studying printmaking at the Idyllwild Arts Academy. She began integrating those skills into her painting compositions back at the kitchen table, and eventually in Sausalito, CA at her studio in the premiere art center at the Industrial Center Building where she has worked for over a decade.


As a mid career artist, Katy has developed her own verifiable style but has been influenced by many contemporary artists. She references Joan Mitchell, Ramono Lotto, Tom Lieber, Hyunmee Lee, and Krista Harris—all “artists with a an energetic truth and sensibility about their work.” Today Katy continues to work passionately towards finding a balance of beauty, chaos and her own truth, reflecting her own inner mind-workings. 


Katy has served on the Mill Valley Art Commission; created the Mill Valley “Click Off” annual photography contest; and curated numerous group art shows including “Make Your Mark with Krista Harris,” “Dennis Hare and Friends,” and other exhibits at the ICB. She has been a juror for the Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival (2014), The Mill Valley Milley Awards (2015), and she chaired the 44th Annual ICB Winter Open Studios featuring 75 artists in 2012. She continues to be active in the community, and support fund-raising efforts at Art for AIDS, Lymelight Foundation, and at a variety of schools and local organizations.