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SIDE VIEW: all of the paintings in this 2016 series look like this on the side. Each painting is a beautiful object to hang on your wall; I chose to let the wood show on the edges. The entire painting (including sides) is varnished and protected.


The Gift Painting

Kirsten Rae Simonsen

United States

Painting, Acrylic on Wood

Size: 14 W x 11 H x 1 D in

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About The Artwork

Kirsten Rae Simonsen’s current work reflects an ongoing interest in the spectacle. Amusement parks, circuses, carnivals, festivals, and roadside attractions often involve temporary structures, and become utopian (or dystopian) "temporary autonomous zones" that create a sense of dystopian pageantry for the public. These zones are often self-sufficient and offer recreation and celebration, but are nomadic and perhaps fleeting. Menageries, deer parks, and zoos suggest a similar construct that is somewhat artificial, as they are often created as domesticated “pleasure parks,” and become a way for humans to idealize nature. In the decentralized, rootless zones portrayed in Simonsen’s imagined pleasure parks, one wonders: has the carnival ended, or is it yet to begin? Is this a failed event, a failed community? Have the animals escaped, or are they still in captivity? Sparse, uninhabited, and often futuristic landscapes host itinerant creatures. Are they involved or indifferent? This ambiguity creates a sort of driftless region in the works, an in-between space, in which the unexpected and magical can occur.

Details & Dimensions

Painting:Acrylic on Wood

Original:One-of-a-kind Artwork

Size:14 W x 11 H x 1 D in

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Delivery Time:Typically 5-7 business days for domestic shipments, 10-14 business days for international shipments.

ARTIST STATEMENT My paintings of Victorian taxidermied animals in fanciful environments reflect my love of the space created by the fairy tales of my childhood: where animals talk and magic or evil lurks around the corner. Birthday cakes and other sweet treats are a recurring theme as I explore the borders of childhood innocence, and the ways in which childhood trauma can enact its subtle revenge. The work conveys a sentimental sweetness, which is also cloying and unsettling. The animals’ expressions and the situations depicted in my work evoke an ominous feeling lurking beneath the surface. The atmospheres in my work encompass both attraction and disgust. Often my work depicts placid animals suspended in artificial, human-made environments full of pastels, neon colors, and glittery surfaces. I use “unnatural” and sometimes fugitive colors along with more “permanent” pigments, exploring the tension between the “real” and the artificial.he “real” and the artificial. All of my work explores how humans romanticize the natural world in our culture, and how that romanticizing can be artificial, inauthentic, and even sentimental and saccharine. Humans idealize, distance, and control wildness in many ways: with stuffed cuddly toys, and in fairy tales, children’s books, natural history dioramas, zoo displays, and nature documentaries. Often, the animals have names and human narratives are created in these situations. Nature is idealized, devoid of its real-life contradictions. The same is true with notions of “paradise,” a human idea that comforts and smoothes over real-life strife and ecological disaster. I examine and often challenge idealized notions of the natural world. BIO Born 1971 Missoula, Montana My technique is very influenced by my study of Balinese traditional painting and Chinese painting. I spent time in Bali studying art on the Darmasiswa scholarship, which is given by the government of Indonesia to encourage the study of traditional arts by people from around the world. I also studied traditional Balinese drawing and painting with a painter in Batuan, Sukamati (Bali). Also I have studied a bit of Chinese painting in China and in Hawaii. Both of these techniques inform my current practice. My work has been exhibited in many cities including Shanghai, London, New York, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Seattle. Enjoy! You can see the rest of my work on my website: and on instagram: @behomebeforedark

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