Jan Kirstein, Fine Artist


 I am an American contemporary artist and writer working primarily with mixed media. My paintings and collage works juxtapose diverse imagery  exploring ideas of emerging fragmentation and reconstruction through fluctuating recognition and realization.

These perceptions then can transform into a meaningful and unified whole for the viewer. I think of creating this work as though I am sifting through an archeological dig of the subconscious mind, moving into layer upon layer of earth. Barely recognizable forms emerge from the surface of the paintings into a conscious gestalt where meanings are meant to galvanize through the viewer’s own personal references and connections.

Words emerge as visual lexicons of rhythm through repetition of movement with the meaning of various languages submerged, as if one is reading in a dream. Asemic writing leaves the meaning to the observer to perceive using their most natural and natal  responses. Abstract expressionism meets language.

Movement through brushwork, markings and layered, open passages lead the viewer on a journey of discovery, enabling the creation of a myriad of associations and insights. Through observing the relationships of applied materials to a surface, layers of seemingly random associations can merge into realization, recognition and insight.

My materials often include Sumi e Ink, Calligraphy brushes, charcoal, pastel, watercolor, acrylic and a variety of papers including Japanese rice paper and canvas.

I have been greatly influenced by artists from the past. Matisse has influenced and inspired my love of brilliant color and its interactions. I have also been greatly inspired by the expressive paintings of the abstract expressionists such as Helen Frankenthaler for her bold and sensitive use of organic poured paint shapes, by Franz Kline for his stark use of diagonal bold contrasting lines and by Robert Rauschenberg for his unique juxtaposition of cultural icons into a variety of assemblages. I am facinated with Chinese Calligraphy as well as with the extensive carvings of masks and wooden figurative art of The Dogon Tribe of the Bandiagara Cliffs region in Africa.