About Kay Kenny
Kay Kenny is a painter, photographer, a long-time photography teacher at New York University, and art criticism writer for arts magazines on visual arts. Kenny’s photography aims to recreate the surreal experience of stars in the night sky, in a time when light pollution is rapidly increasing. Her work serves to render what we cannot see, or don’t try to know. Urban dwellers, inundated with ambient light and pollution, can’t fathom the power of astronomical phenomena, or the peace that can come with darkness and quiet, she says: “People just really don’t see what they have lost.” These images bring that home.
Kay Kenny’s series “Into the Night in the Middle of No Where” is a decade in the making, looking at the rural night and the set and blurring boundaries between the wild and domestic. With works like Full Moon & Sheep in a Meadow, with the stunningly bright light of the moon, the figure basking in a glow of red, and two sheep, docile and just off-center, she wishes for the viewer to contemplate her work, to figure out what is going on and find a narrative.
Her “Stone Goddess” series takes Greek and Roman sculptures from the Metropolitan Museum sculpture courts and places them elsewhere in the United States, acting as avatars of the past watching what humanity’s whims have wrought. Inspired by the current troubling times in creating this series, Kenny was reminded of the ancient Greeks and Romans- their culture and the fragility of democracy.
Artist Personal Website: www.kaykenny.com
Light pollution from populated areas has been rising at the rate of 6% a year, according to a study by Italian and US astronomers. As our cities and towns continue to expand, the scrim of light continues its spread, blocking our view of the heavens. To those of us who are fortunate enough to see the stars unveiled in a clear rural sky the view is extraordinarily surreal. My photographs are an attempt to recreate that experience.
I have been photographing the rural night in the Northeast for over a decade. This project grew out of a larger body of work, “Into the Night in the Middle of No Where”, is a poetic tribute to the rural night. In the rural night, the boundaries between the wild and the domestic tend to blur into a potent swirl of mystery, familiarity, and anticipated menace. My dreams are here as well as my nightmares.
Awards & Grants
- Margaret Cameron Photography Award, Honorable Mention 2019
- Individual Artist Fellowship NJSCA Works on Paper 2016
- Legacy Award, Griffin Museum of Photography 2015
- Lucie Awards, Honorable Mention 2009
- N.J.Council of the Arts Grant 1993
- Virginia Ctr. for the Creative Arts, fellowship 1989
- Virginia Ctr. for the Creative Arts,fellowship 1990
- NJ Council of the Arts Grant 1985
- NJ Council of the Arts Grant 1987
- NYSCA CAST Grant (sculpture/mixed media project) 1976
Syrcacuse University, Bachelor of Fine Arts
Rutgers University, Master of Arts
Syracuse University, Master of Fine Arts