In Landscape Paintings Kitchen continues his dedication to the landscape as a place of respite, reflection, and a purposeful retreat from the man-made. Although the paintings may initially appear to be pure abstraction, the artist’s titles indicate their representation of rivers, mountain paths, and coastlines. While his previous work was built upon recalled lived experiences, this new work depicts locations compiled from desires and fears of the future. With backgrounds that are more destabilized and structural marks that are less descriptive, the paintings’ connections to reality become looser and more precarious. Kitchen allows the viewer to draw on their own interpretations of the pared down compositions.
Following painters like Lois Dodd, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Suzan Frecon, Kitchen plays with the tension between the abstract and the representational. In the space of his canvases, representational elements take on the quality of gestural marks and pools of abstraction solidify into markers of the landscape. In vacillating between the formal and the referential, Kitchen accentuates the hazy space between them. By using the formal elements of figure/ground, Kitchen toys with the viewer’s expectations of a landscape painting, how we define it’s meaning, and how we assign significance to it.