Kimberly Thomas MalmRoom 2Room 3Room 4Room 5About KimContact Kim
Kimberly T. Malm – Statement        (click for Resume)
Whenever I look at a painting, I always find myself asking the question: “What value does painting have right now?”  Or, more specifically: “How does a painting hold one’s attention within the context of a fast, fleeting, image-laden culture?”  The answer I keep returning to is this: it is the trace of the human hand and the speed, or more accurately, the slowness at which visual information unfolds to us from the picture plane.
The work I’ve been developing, all relatively small in scale, involves an intricate layering process that orbits around hand-stitched scenes from room interiors.  When I begin my process, I always start by stitching, or essentially, drawing with needle and thread.  Reference to printed images of interiors I’ve collected over the years is my guiding point.  Initially attracted to the stunning compositions and thoughtful groupings of shapes, I start by reducing the magazine images into simple sketched line drawings, honing in on a particular shape, curve, or intricate, inviting space that attracts me.  I usually end up scaling the final drawings down or altering them slightly to fit the picture plane I’ve chosen to work on.  I then paste the properly scaled drawing on the back of the canvas. Doing this allows me to get an accurate and precise thread drawing.   The act of constantly handling the small canvas, flipping it from front to back, and poking small holes in its surface, has allowed me to relate to the painting as an object while simultaneously keeping in mind that it still is very much a picture plane.  This has opened  up a sensibility to the duality of painting that I didn’t pay attention to in earlier work.  Once the interior scene is stitched, this conglomerate of shapes is immovable and fixed; therefore, it is the ground area that becomes the playground – always shifting and changing in surface and color, but at the same time remaining faithful to the figure it envelops. Pieces of hand-made paper, wallpaper swatches, tape, paint, and liquid frisket are just some of the materials used to build the space, or more specifically, the surface that is a reaction to the initial stitching.
I’ve recently begun to think about how this way of making paintings is related to childhood memories I have of playing with dollhouses.    As a youngster, I spent hundreds if not thousands of hours holding, touching, and looking at miniature versions of furniture.   I would obsessively arrange and rearrange furniture and interiors used to replicate much larger versions  of “the real thing”.   So, in a way, this “play memory” is beginning to navigate and inform my painting process.  When I step back and look at paintings that are finished (the good ones, that is), I sometimes sense a quiet, mysterious, slightly magical quality of a secret life of an interior; one completely void of people but alive nonetheless.
Copyright Kimberly T. Malm