Opening Reception – Sunday, April 3, 2016 – 1:30-3:30 pm
Marla Hope Kenney is the featured artist in April. The public is invited to the opening reception on April 3 to view her beautiful art work. Admission is free.
Marla started her first art experience with lessons at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. when she was 5. The teacher said she was naturally gifted and her parents needed to channel her energy; she was a bit hyperactive. So she has been making art all her life. Her focus is on creating layered paintings with acrylic ink and paint that expose an organic energy with color and line. She uses a glazing type of technique to create depth with the layers then push the dimensional effect with other media paints. She likes to stretch the boundaries of positive and negative space.
Marla has a B.F.A and M.Ed in Art Education and has been teaching 20 years in the public sector. She spent several years in the commercial art arena which allowed her to further develop a sense use of design and composition but she did not allow that structured style to entrap her.
“I get inspiration from nature and from artists who allowed color and form to play on their canvas. Marc Chagall, Kandinsky, and Matisse are a few that guide my soul. My art tends to lend itself to organic subject matter. I liken it to enjoying the Hidden Pictures page in the Highlights Magazine. I never know, when I lay down the under-painting in inks, what it will be. I can plan with colors and have an idea of its general direction but the finished product evolves as I paint.
“I begin my paintings with acrylic inks and then use decalcamania application with plastic wrap on a heavy but smooth rag paper, canvas, or board. I love rich color, big and bold, so I inject the colors under the wrap to make them bolder. Many of my paintings turn out to be landscapes or organic in nature. The jungles are best when they appear because they remind me of Panama and connect me with my family and heritage. Animals like birds and fish have been appearing most often lately on the canvases. The mixing of smooth/dull and textural and shiny effects excites me. And I will layer many glazes to build positive and negative space. I actually love landscapes but hate painting them unless in this style. After the painting is done I gently approach the shapes and voids that I see with pens, markers, colored pencils and graphite or a brush and acrylics and begin to play back and forth with the depth and surface areas. I keep building until the scene or image appears. Almost always, the scene is organic or figurative–not a real place, but a place in my mind that could possibly exist.
“I still enjoy just putting paint to canvas when an idea strikes me and because I teach, I am constantly inspired by new and different mediums. Teaching has been the best inspiration and the best way to make a lazy artist keep on working! I make art almost everyday in some form or fashion and I enjoy all of it. I am very lucky to be doing something I love.
“When people see my paintings, I hope they feel the interest and excitement I feel trying to see everything that is there. I hope they come away with an urge to go back and look again! I exhibit in local galleries and shows, but I have my work in homes all over the world and I find that very gratifying.”
Ms. Kenney’s work will be on exhibit through April 28, 2016.
Marla Hope Kenney Art
The Arts Center is located at 8140 Parkway Drive, in downtown Leeds.
The gallery is open Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and during events. In case of inclement weather, call the center at 205-699-1892 to confirm opening hours.