LOCAL MAKERS SHOWCASE: MYA KERNER
Our "Local Makers" blog posts series continues and today we are featuring Mya Kerner: a Seattle-based artist who creates nature inspired contemporary sculptures and oil paintings.
COULD YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND?
I am Originally from Philadelphia, PA. I completed my BFA in Interdisciplinary Sculpture and Environmental Design at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD in 2011. Since then, I have worked as an artist in residence nationally at Sculpture Trails Outdoor Museum in Solsberry, Indiana and Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, Alabama, and internationally as a visiting artist at Akademia Sztuk Pięknych in Gdańsk, Poland. I have moved to Seattle in 2014 and since then have been working in my studio and collaborating with designers in Seattle, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, and Atlanta.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU? HOW DO YOU CREATE YOUR PIECES?
In the summer of 2010, I took a painting class abroad. On the terrace of the Grand Hotel Cocumella in Sorrento, Italy, I used to gaze out onto the Bay of Naples . "For if I submerge, the fantasy will wash away", I wrote. "The ground is not real; I live in the haze above the water. I have been looking for too long [...] and now, as always, sky and water are one.” Study after study, I explored the indents and folds of the waves, moving out into an infinite beyond. Over the course of the month, I developed a code. Each painting shed or gained strokes depending on the saturation of my mind and the movement of the water: a collaboration of space and emotion. Painting has become my form of meditation. I lose myself in the vastness.
I am also fascinated by the process of casting iron. I compare this process to the Japanese tea ceremony. "The intense concentration needed to perform a tea ceremony was both a discipline and a purification, for through the focusing of the mind on the microcosm of the tearoom, the rest of life's concerns would melt away."(Wabi Sabi: The Art of Impermanence). I make nontraditional molds, therefore, my attention cannot waiver and the experience is heightened. Iron is poured into a bed of carved clay and the reaction leaves its history upon the surface. Lines travel across a space, simultaneously marking separation and drawing connections.
When I moved to Seattle at the end of 2014, I was emerging from a yearlong sculpture residency, had no facility to keep making sculptures, but I needed to create. On my days off, I would sit on the bluff of Discovery Park in Magnolia, watching the water and the mountains. I wrote ”It moves but the movement is slow enough I can record form and line within each moment [...] Slightly larger waves, emerging from the lines, roll over themselves and are eventually over taken by the calm [...] Segments are more defined closer to shore, the further out my eye goes, the most of a whole I see [...] In the expanse, easy to simultaneously separate and unite, we can lose ourselves or location in that space so completely that we can truly find ourselves again.” In those moments, I was moved to remember my experience in Italy, and decided to pursue painting as my primary practice, rather than seeing it as supplementary.
I continue to codify the landscape into a language of marks in relationship to geological features. To do this, I present myself with constraints and develop specific aspects of my work, through iteration, one painting at a time. I primarily work with oil paint on birch panel, but my practice spans many media. I explore romantic ideals, cherishing the unknown and mystery of nature. I reject the domination of logic and hope to live in awe of the sublime for the rest of my life. My concern for humanity's precarious relationship with nature drives my exploration of the intricacies of terrain and the potential for ecological balance through my creative material studies.