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Grace Kennison

Grace Kennison (b. 1995, Fort Collins, CO) is a painter living and working in the San Luis Valley in southwestern Colorado. Born and raised on the front-range of the Colorado Piedmont and a new resident to the western slope, her work explores relationships to the land and utilizes iconography within the real and imagined American West. 

"My current paintings articulate reflections on settler colonial history and reimagine the symbols and stories that compose our shared understanding of the American West.  Through my work, I have come to think of “the west” as a psychological space where ideas about freedom, identity, and land threaten to eliminate or warp real histories, perceptions of self, and our relationship to the world around us. My work asks what it is about this west that we identify with and long for. I wonder to what degree our relationships to the natural world, ourselves, and reality are at stake in wrangling with the legacy of the west. 

 

My work references the surreal as a way to visually relate to the grand illusions the western as a genre has to offer. I’m interested in ways western land and the subjects that relate to it are postured, stretched, and reshaped through the telling and retelling of new and old stories of the west. Equally influential to my work are my real experiences and what I have learned as a white woman living in areas throughout the west- currently on Ute land in the San Luis Valley which belongs to the Tabergauche band. Within this middle ground between fantasies of self/place and my reaching for that which is absolutely real, I find myself with more questions. How do I relate to the land I live on? What happens when I reconfigure the language of the west into visions of something personally meaningful? What am I trying to liberate myself into?"

 

Kennison has exhibited her work nationally, most recently in a group show Cowboy at the MCA Denver in 2024. She has been in multiple group shows at Hashimoto Gallery, Los Angeles; 12 26 Gallery, Dallas; Visions West Contemporary, Denver. This year, her work was prominently featured on the cover of New American Paintings, edition #168, curated by Vivian Li of the Dallas Museum of Art. Kennison is currently continuing her practice in painting from her studio in Ridgway, Colorado where she is endlessly inspired by the stories of “the West”.

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