When I woke in the middle of the night, suspended between sleep and consciousness, the words Time Has Width appeared, accompanied by a vision of imagined paintings that showed moments on a timeline. In these paintings, each event along the timeline was shown as a point surrounded by circular lines that expanded, overlapped and communicated with one another.
Once fully awake, the paintings in my vision and the words Time Has Width seemed nonsensical. But, as the day went on and I worked in the studio, the idea and images of my vision began to occupy more space in my mind. Time Has Width had become a problem to solve and, for me, the best way to understand and explore an idea was to paint it.
I began first by painting the images I had seen in my vision and four of these paintings are in this exhibition. When I first painted them, I wasn’t satisfied. I felt there was no discovery in the process as I was painting something I had already seen. For me, ideas develop organically through painting. As I paint, the idea creates its own structure and I can imagine it as a three-dimensional shape. In these paintings, the timeline is shown evolving or falling apart into a column of color. In the moment when events collide, they explode. During the process of painting, it was as if I was inside of the event looking out at the timeline, as if I could see time from the inside out.
As these paintings evolved, I began to understand that Time Has Width was an insight, a visual translation, of the impact that the pandemic has had on my life over the past few years. The effect has been intensely personal and, at the same time, global. Covid became an intensified event on everyone’s shared timeline across the world. These moments flew together, exploded, expanded, contracted and overlapped.
In March of 2020, when Covid suddenly emerged and NY City shut down, my studio work underwent a massive shift. I was actively working on several different series at once. The impact of the pandemic had the effect of cleansing my mind of all things conceptual. I lost my ideas.
I was living in Brooklyn and my studio was within walking distance. In the midst of the shutdown, I was able to continue working. I was left with nothing but a strong drive to paint. During this time, I painted without conscious content. My paintings came from my process, my muscle memory, and pulled from everything that I’d ever painted. Some of the paintings from this time are included in this exhibition and are in active dialogue with the Time Has Width series.
Today my studio is in Kansas City and over time my ideas have come back, but I still incorporate painting from muscle memory. It has become a meditation, an exercise, while I’m painting. If world events get to be too much, I can let my mind rest and trust my body to make the work.
– Ky Anderson, 2022
After living and working in Brooklyn NY for over 15 years, the pandemic of 2020 prompted Ky Anderson, as it did so many artists, to relocate. Anderson always maintained strong ties to Kansas City community where she grew up and attended school. She graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1995. In 2020, she moved back to KC and transitioned from a small NY studio to an expansive warehouse loft. Her Kansas City studio allows her the space to expand and explore paintings and drawings with a new freedom. Anderson’s light filled, abstract color harmonies echo architecture, sculpture and the figure and read as poetry not prose.
Ky Anderson’s work is exhibited across the country including New York, San Francisco, and Chicago. Anderson recently completed a public commission for a series of twelve paintings for the new Cambridge Tower at the University of Kansas Hospital, KC, KS.