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Kim Kleinhardt

Mixed media visual artist from Traverse City, Michigan

Artist Statement

Storytelling through visual engagement, letting images trigger memories of each viewer in individual ways – these are the catalysts for my creative journeys. Whether developed into 2D compositions or sculptural forms, each piece is aesthetically layered in messages and mixed media. The initial development of ideas originates from personal emotions, memories, grief, life changes, frustrations- sentiments that relate to all viewers in individual ways.

My artwork is not created merely for visual pleasure, but to work through private thoughts as a meaningful process.

Attention to detail with an element of surprise gives my compositions an intriguing quality that demands the attention of the observer. Realistic images created and superimposed with various mediums stir an emotional state that oftentimes turns less representational, but more provocatively decorative.

Recent Work

Calling All Heroes

Calling All Heroes

2023 Mixed Media | 36″ x 48″

My grandson is now eight years old and I worry for him.  Where are the positive role models for boys, where is the help for those who struggle? How can we come together to help boys resist those negative influences that our current world offers? From social media to music, young boys are sent conflicting messages as to how to think & act. We need to make a village of heroes to council, help, and direct these young lives in the right direction. Will you be a hero?

Available for Exhibition – NFS

A Nest For Herself

A Nest for Herself

2024 Mixed Media | 24″ x 24″

This mixed media composition on canvas gives the viewer a unique perspective of a swallow’s nest built on the beams of my old barn. Upon closer look, words & images create a texture filled with memories & experiences of family, loss, and love. The swallow’s symbolic return each spring to rebuild her nest gives us hope. We are reminded to treasure life changes and appreciate the beauty of everyday things.

Available for Exhibition

Hidden Spirits

Hidden Spirits

2023 Mixed Media | 36″ x 48″

The gift of water is a topic we can no long ignore. We need to follow Native Americans in their respect & conservation of the sacred water that we need to survive on earth. Pollution, global warming, and environmental disasters have left us concerned for the future. This composition of mixed media on canvas reflects the beauty that we see & yet the problems that we face to keep our waters from disaster.

Sold – Private Collection

Overwhelmed

Overwhelmed

2020 Mixed Media | 36″ x 48″

This mixed media on canvas is a cry for help. Politics, covid, & world events created a society filled with panic & anxiety. We closed our eyes and held on- not knowing which way to turn or who to believe. The visual completion of my self portrait in news articles and images lead the viewer to reflect on personal inner feelings, and questions on life. Finding inner strength through chaos became my message.

Sold – Private Collection

Pawn or Queen

Pawn or Queen

2022 Mixed Media | 48″ x 36″

Watching my young granddaughter grow during these turbulent times where women’s rights are being challenged, inspired this composition. I used our game of chess to illustrate Maggie and our past, present & future feminist world on this mixed media on canvas composition. How will politics, media, and society move the across the board to define her future? Will my smart, loving, creative granddaughter be allowed to decide what’s best for herself? Or will others make decisions about her body and life – Pawn or Queen?

Available for Exhibition – NFS

Pins and Needles

Pins and Needles

2021 Mixed Media | 60″ x 24″

Breast cancer found me, and then worked as inspiration for this triptych of mixed media on wood. I created during the process of breast cancer diagnosis, bilateral mastectomy & reconstruction using the materials given me and my mother’s old dress patterns. When completed, this emotional piece gave a voice to my struggle and a connection to those who’ve had their lives touched by cancer.

Available for Exhibition

Details

Scroll through the images above to see close-up details of this piece.

There is No Gambling Like Politics

There is No Gambling Like Politics

2017 Mixed Media | 60″ x 60″

Politics are a difficult topic for any conversation with anyone. I chose to express my frustrations through sculpture and historical meaning. Benjamin Disraeli’s quote, “There is no gambling like politics” was my inspiration for this piece. The giant wood dice hover precariously over the world and all it’s people waiting to see which way the dice may roll. We are a global world; what happens in any Country affects us all.  Lives and livelihoods are gambled by those in power with the roll of the dice.

Available for Exhibition

Ruby

Ruby

2016 Mixed Media | 24″ x 24″

Ruby was the treadle sewing machine that my sisters and I learned to sew on. Mom would purchase bolts of fabric on sale and our job was to create as many outfits as possible. Between my mom’s direction and help from our sewing 4-H leaders, we three girls became quite the little seamstresses. This mixed media on board reflects a transferred photo of us in our Easter outfits. The machine and repeated border of the pedal are drawn in graphite.

Available for Exhibition

Balanced

Balanced

2016 Mixed Media | 36″ x 72″

Being a grandmother, running a gallery, & trying to find time to create became quite the balancing act. I felt segmented like a puzzle that could fall apart at any time.  I used images of my life to create my face which sat precariously on a pedestal. This sculpture was also created with a rolling ball bearing inviting the viewer to interact. As the ball rolled to the other end of the see saw, it would make a load noise to wake up, collect thoughts and focus on balancing once again.

Available for Exhibition

Filed

Filed

2014 Mixed Media | 66″ x 45″

After thirty years of teaching art, I had acquired an infinite amount of paperwork. When I decided to retire, I began this composition using file folders and all the excess paperwork in my art room. I created this composition of my art students onto folders so they could be opened representing each year taught. This became a therapeutic way for me to say goodbye to my students and classroom. The composition was a successful interactive piece- inviting the viewers to open each file folder, however, with the interaction also came deterioration from overuse. “Filed” became a temporary installation which no longer exists – representing the end of my teaching career.

No Longer Available

Doily

Doily

2013 Mixed Media | 24″ x 24″

This mixed media composition on board reflects my grief after losing my mother.  I had found a photo I had taken from years past of her arthritic hands as she crochet her infamous doilies.  After transferring the photo onto a piece of her fabric, I painstakingly recreated her doily line by line to release my sadness.

Available for Exhibition

Just Not the Blue Dress

Just Not the Blue Dress

2014 Mixed Media | 20″ x 24″

My mother had passed and there was a gathering of the family to help Dad in his grief- he struggled as to what to do first.  After working at organizing Mom things, my sisters and I decided to secretly visit a psychic medium for one more goodbye. My dad never knew. We sat a little skeptical listening to the psychic until she mentioned that Dad was now ready to clean out Mom’s closet for charity, just not the blue dress. We all knew it was the dress she had worn at their 50th wedding anniversary party. The following day as we went to help Dad again, he looked as us girls & said, “Please clean out Mom’s closet & donate her things – “Just Not the Blue Dress.”

Sold – Private Collection

Self Portrait

Self Portrait

2015 Mixed Media | 16″ x 12″ x 2″

This small mixed media piece on wood was created for an exhibit at the 515 Gallery in Clare. It portrayed a series of mini blocks which fit into a vintage vending machine installed at the gallery. Artists of all ages and abilities joined in creating small compositions to exhibit representing the minis sold through the machine for charity. My series of blocks were created to represent women artists past and present, so I created a self-portrait adding one of the mini blocks to create a sculptural look.

Sold – Private Collection

God Bless Permapress

God Bless Permapress

2015 Mixed Media | 40″ x 36″

This sculpture was designed as a tribute to my mother’s obsession to iron everything.  As a kid my pressing assignment was Dad’s white shirts that he wore to work daily. Mom would use this bottle to sprinkle water on each washed shirt, then roll them up, put each in plastic bread bag & then store in our refrigerator- waiting to be my ironing chore.  I truly disliked this job & swore to never iron as an adult.  This sculpture is designed to have the bottom of the iron open as a medieval style alter to the sprinkling bottle.  The painted interior reveals the process to my mom’s specified ironing instructions.

Available for Exhibition

Details

Scroll through the images above to see close-up details of this piece.