Vibrant paintings created during the past year are on display in Shakti Kroopkin’s solo show opening on March 1 at the Jean Cocteau Art Gallery.
These new pieces, some of which lean toward a synthesis of street art and abstract expressionism, are part of Kroopkin’s body of work that has been evolving and growing for more than a decade.
“I have a lot of sketchbooks where I work out compositional ideas,” says the Santa Fe artist and educator.
“I also do stream of consciousness writings in preparation for paintings.”
Sumi ink has been an integral part of Kroopkin’s paintings for many years. Using a bamboo brush and her mouth, Kroopkin blows ink onto canvas in much the same way it has been done by artists for a thousand years. Oil paint, oil stick and graphite are applied on top of the ink.
“The paintings start out black and white,” explains Kroopkin, who has shown her art in more than 50 galleries and art shows around the country and is an active member of the Santa Fe Society of Artists. “The ink has depth to me and feels rich. Color expresses my emotional state at the time I’m painting. Sometimes, there’s a pastel feel that’s soft and flowing and at other times colors are raw and bold.”
Although spontaneity is a guiding force, Kroopkin examines the places where colors intersect and makes adjustments, if necessary. “I definitely go in and out of Zen mind and what I’ve learned through my art training,” she adds.
Born in Chicago in 1976, Kroopin began painting in oils at the age of seven and graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1998. Many of her works are rooted in her memories of the Chicago cityscape in combination with the vast raw beauty of her New Mexico home. Other pieces that are part of her Pop Block series are focused on relationships.
Kroopkin, who describes her paintings as free from the constraints of logic, gravity, and reality, says her work is “an organic mystery of nature with an urban language.”