Kirby Fredendall was raised in Bucks County amidst the vibrant arts culture that has defined the area since artists first arrived to establish residence on the old farms and in the eclectic river towns. Among her first memories was falling to sleep to the pianist Anna Ward, married to artist Charles Ward, as Anna practiced in her home across the street. Later, she remembers times shared swimming in the pool and marveling at the stacks of wood on George Nakashima's remarkable property with her friend, his granddaughter, Maria.
These memories, along with being raised by artists, forged deep ties to the arts for Fredendall who attended Duke University to study Art History, first in North Carolina and then in London. Following her studies in London, she attended the Cordon Bleu, later to work as a pastry chef while she obtained her master's degree in Art Education and Painting.
Becoming a painter was a natural progression for Fredendall who had been drawing and painting throughout her life. Her first exhibitions were local, followed by numerous national group shows in Philadelphia, Hartford, Wilmington, Harrisburg, and later New York. Solo shows followed, including one at the Michener Art Museum. She received the honor of the Rauschenberg Foundation's "The Power of Art" grant.
Her most recent work explores her relationship to a lake in the Adirondack Mountains. While the paintings can be most directly defined as landscapes, they can be more accurately described as representations of the constantly changing energy of our relationship with not only ourselves but also with those around us and with our environment. They examine the unbreakable but changeable connections that exist between forces both within us and without.
There is stillness as a front appears at the northern end of the lake - a calm. Clouds gather. The light becomes brilliant then dark. The wind curls itself into a directed force. Rain comes. The visual drama of the lake is never the same. It is the place where I am the most connected to myself and where I am finding the creative force for these images.
Multiple conditions of light created by the time of day and the weather create textures in the water, patterns in the clouds, and juxtapositions of color that vibrate with one another to form the visual experience of the lake. The morning light is slowly teased up over the horizon, gently lighting the clouds, while the evening sunset feels like a race through the fire into the darkening sky.
These dynamic combinations of light, shape, pattern. and color inspire the images that I paint. I enjoy the manipulation of paint and how that process in itself contributes to the life and form of the final image. Dramatic, gestural lines describe the play of light and wind across the water, while softer marks add life to the slow movement of rain-laden clouds across the sky. Areas of sky, water, and land are knit together to represent their seamless interaction under the common conditions of weather and time. Colors are intentionally juxtaposed to create passages that are beautifully compelling.
The lake, for me, is a metaphor for the constantly changing energy of our relationship with not only ourselves but also with those around us and with our environment. My paintings are a visual exploration of the unbreakable but changeable connections that exist between forces both within us and without.
"Blending a lyrical, New York School gesturalism with intense areas of pure hue, (Fredendall's) paintings are a celebration of the versatility of color and reveal the depth of human experience." Shannon Collins
"In painting abstract paintings, Fredendall demonstrates an imposing repertoire of paint handling techniques...(the paintings) are highly plotted affairs that appear to emerge slowly in successive layers - the layer beneath never quite obscuring what comes next. The lyricism is so pervasive that at times one can imagine the pigment itself soaked in some sweet nectar."