JUSTIN KELLNER


STATEMENT

While utilizing the landscape’s natural forms and textures, I draw upon visual cues from past encounters to achieve a balance between realism and abstraction. My intent is to evoke memories and the sense of a place and time while portraying the interrupted cycles existing throughout the natural world’s various ecosystems.

The paintings give an impression of the natural areas I've explored, while informing the viewer about their environmental fragility. Very sensitive to their environments, birds are often a good indicator of the health of a particular ecosystem. In my paintings, I combine aggressive, abstract brushstrokes and textures with realistically rendered birds to create spaces that give the impression of erosion, change and isolation. 

While my work is informed by my research of environmental issues, my primary focus has become the hunt for the birds and their habitats.  Searching out nd identifying various species has led me to explore Michigan's parks and wetlands. Rather than focusing on the loss of habitat, I've explored the unique environments of individual species, many of which are maintained by conservation efforts.   

While painting, I also explore. Drawing on memories, natural forms and textures from the environment, I work intuitively, creating abstract suggestions of the landscape that remind me of the places where I've sought out birds and wildlife. 

My intent is to evoke memories and the sense of a place and time, while portraying the interrupted cycles existing throughout the natural world. Through my work, I hope to inspire others to more deeply explore their local environment and to become invested in the health of its complex ecosystems. 


PROFILE

Beautiful and wild, Justin Kellner’s combination of aggressive, abstract brushstrokes with silky veils of color and realistically-rendered birds creates unexpected spaces in each canvas.  With a confident use of deep browns, red-oranges, brassy yellows, sky blues and mossy greens, his work begins by simply laying down a few marks in acrylic paint.  These marks are then used to guide the placement of thinned washes of paint which stain the canvas in calming, muted tones.  On top of this subtle background, paint is built up in certain areas, becoming thick and layered while others are left thinly masked with soft color.  At times these areas of dense, caked paint are home to an expertly rendered bird.  Loons, nuthatches and gulls emerge from confident brushwork, revealing that the painting is not just about light, color and paint application.  The viewer becomes aware that blocks of color allude to untamed landscapes and layered, craggy paint references the weathered surfaces of the natural world. 

It is in this realization that we find ourselves between Kellner’s two conflicting planes of being.  One plane has us questioning what, if anything, is truly real while the other provides tactile, solid evidence that the physical world does absolutely exist.

A graduate of Kendall School of Art and Design’s MFA program, Kellner has shown his work throughout Michigan and has been honored with several awards.


BIOGRAPHY

EDUCATION

2010
Master of Fine Arts in Painting, Kendall College of Art and Design, Grand Rapids, MI

2007
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting/Drawing, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI
Minor in Art History, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

2018
“Collective”, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI

2017
“Perception & Intention”, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI
“Toast”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, MI
“Everyone in the Pool”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, MI
"Freshly Considered", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI
"Displacement", Solo Installation, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI

2016
"sELECTED Works", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI
"Toast", LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, MI
"Everyone in the Pool", LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, MI
"Collective Alchemy", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI

2015
"Let's Get Started", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI
"Preserved!" Land Conservancy of West Michigan hosted at LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, MI
"Birds in Art" 40th anniversary exhibition, Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, WI
"Look Out", LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, MI
"Everyone in The Pool", LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, MI
“Lookie Here”, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI

2014   
“Annual Fall Celebration”, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI
“URBAN/RURAL Michigan Outlook”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, MI
“Unusual Suspects”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, MI
“Hop Skip & a Jump”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, MI
“reCollect” Solo Show, (106) Gallery, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI

2013   
“Justin Kellner - Solo”, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI

2012   
“25 Year Gala”, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI
“LG-Group”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, MI
“Color Context”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, MI
“Power of Pattern”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, MI
“Fresh Squeezed and Locally Grown”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, MI
“Act II”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, MI

2011   
“83rd Regional Exhibition”, Juried Exhibition, Muskegon Museum of Art, Muskegon, MI, Director’s Choice Award Winner
“14th Annual Open International Society of Acrylic Painters”, International Juried Exhibition, Santa Cruz, CA
“All Michigan All Media Visual Arts Competition”, Juried Exhibition, Holland Area Arts Council, Holland, MI First Place Award Winner
“Art League of Hilton Head’s 2011 Biennial National”, National Juried Exhibition, The Walter Creer Gallery, Hilton Head Island, SC
First Place Award Winner in 3-Dimensional Category
“Emerald Spring Exhibition”, National Juried Show, Emerald Art Center, Springfield, OR

2010
“82nd Regional Juried Exhibition”, Muskegon Museum of Art, Muskegon, Michigan
“Mindshare: Art of the Bridge”. Devos Center, Grand Rapids, Michigan, All 

2009
“Festival of the Arts”, Juried Exhibition, Old Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids, Michigan
 

2008 
“80th Regional Juried Exhibition”, Muskegon Museum of Art, Muskegon, Michigan
“Festival of the Arts”, Juried Exhibition, Old Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids, Michigan
 

HONORS & AWARDS

2012    
Artist Spotlight, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan

2010
Muskegon Museum of Art Award of Excellence, “13th Annual Winter Festival”, Uptown Gallery, Grand Haven, Michigan

Third Place Winner, “Mindshare: Art of the Bridge”, Devos Center, Grand Rapids, Michigan

2006 
Steven Barstow Artist Award, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan

2005 
Steven Barstow Artist Award, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan

PUBLICATIONS

2012
25 Year Book, LaFontsee Galleries
International Painting Annual vol. 2, Manifest Gallery Press

2011
Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine, September Edition

2010
Artist Portfolio Magazine, Online Art Magazine Winter Edition

2009
Studio Visit Magazine, Reproduction, Spring Edition

2002
Carved Marks, Publication of Student Artwork

2000
Idle Ramblings, Publication of Student Artwork

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

2016        
Live Painting Event, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan

2013            
Live Painting Event, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan

2012            
Live Painting Event, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan

2008-2010 
Kendall College of Art and Design, Continuing Education Instructor in Drawing & Painting
Kendall College of Art and Design, Graduate Assistant, Worked under Professor Jay Constantine
Kendall College of Art & Design, Graduate Assistant, Workshop Overseer
Kendall College of Art & Design, Graduate Teaching Seminar Participant, Full Semester Course under Deborah Rockman

2009
45 Ottawa, Artprize Venue, Volunteer, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Earthwork Music Harvest Gathering, Artist Vendor, Lake City, Michigan
Bay Harbor Art Festival, Artist Vendor, Bay Harbor, Michigan
The Water Festival, Art Exhibitor, Grand Rapids, Michigan

2008
Charlevoix Art Fair, Artist vendor, Charlevoix, Michigan
Earthwork Music Harvest Gathering, Artist Vendor, Lake City, Michigan
The Water Festival, Art Exhibitor, Grand Rapids, Michigan

2007 
Earthwork Music Harvest Gathering, Artist Vendor, Lake City, Michigan
Farmhouse Music Festival, Artist Vendor, Johannesburg, Michigan
Art for All Juried Art Fair, Artist Vendor, Menominee, Michigan
The Water Festival, Art Exhibitor, Grand Rapids, Michigan
The Big Art Show, Art Exhibitor, Kalamazoo, Michigan
Artist Mentor for Bronze Sculpture Class, Helped students troubleshoot to create successful bronze sculptures

2006 
Central Michigan University Study Abroad Program: Drawing in Florence, Drawing onsite and expanded Art History education throughout various cities in Italy
Central Lake Art Festival, Artist Vendor, Central Lake, Michigan