Artist Portfolio

Arthur Kvarnstrom

Artist Biography

Art has always been part of my life. Growing up in a rural farm community with limited entertainment options I turned to drawing and spent a lot of time outside.

In high school I signed up for all the available art classes. In college I immersed myself in learning to draw and paint. With the help and encouragement of my teachers I made rapid progress. At the end I had graduated from college, with BFA from the University of Arizona and an MFA from Kent State. I also returned to New York, where I've lived ever since.

My early work was based on direct observation. This has not changed, however my intent has. During my student years and for some time following, my objective was to draw or paint what I saw as accurately as possible. In the last several years, my intent has evolved to focus on marks and abstract shapes and rhythms. Painting has become more about organizing space than about description. In this context color has assumed the function of transmitting light and defining space. I think of my painting as looking backward to the tradition, while looking forward to contemporary abstraction.

Aside from my teachers there have been many painters I've studied and been influenced by over the years. In contemporary art, Fairfield Porter and Lois Dodd have vindicated my commitment to painting the world around me. Nineteenth Century French painting is, to me, one of the most remarkable periods in painting history. In an era rich with prominent painters, Matisse and Cezanne currently top my list. In the past few years, I've become increasingly interested in the teachings of Hans Hoffman. His ideas have had an effect on my painting as well as my thinking about painting.


My watercolor paintings embody qualities that are increasingly important to me. They rely on relationships of form and space while employing color as a means of expression and communication. The Dunnfield Creek series, painted over a period of several years represents my interpretation of abstract shapes found in this particular landscape.
The natural world offers countless choices of creative elements. These universal images contain infinite
varieties for mixing and reinterpreting, a springboard for the imagination. Exploring landscape presents
challenging and engaging opportunities to create abstract relationships.
Growing up in the country, walking in the fields and woods allowed for a thorough immersion in the sights, sounds and smells of nature. The natural world is alive and wondrous. Being present in nature is a deeply spiritual experience that I share through painting. Painting is a meditation on nature akin to poetry.

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