Artist Jennifer Kuhn has an impressive body of work that demonstrates the stylistic range of figurative mosaic artwork.
Normally when I need to describe the range of styles of mosaic artwork, I emphasize how found objects can be used as improvised tiles and how that multiplies the number of styles of abstract art that are possible.
Here I’m not talking about that. Here I’m talking solely about the rendering of figures with ordinary tesserae (tiles or pieces cut from tile or flat material).
Jennifer’s work shows that mosaic is like painting or drawing in terms of the number of styles of rendering that are possible.
The following elementary school mosaic was interpreted from student artwork, and I love it:
Look at the great use of value contrast in this monochromatic wonder:
Check out the great use of contrasting andamento in the Bird of Zhar stained glass mosaic that Jennifer did in support of Ukraine:
How about an impressionistic landscape? This one captures the quality of early morning light. Think about how amazing that is. Look at how coarse the piece size is, and yet this mosaic captures atmospherics:
If that’s not impressive enough, Jennifer also makes mosaic portraits that capture individual likeness. Notice how strong this composition is thanks to the sharp light-dark value contrast:
Many artists who can render realistically from a model with ease find it difficult to produce images from the imagination. Not so for Jennifer, who produces imaginative, stylized images with equal success:
Jennifer makes the type of abstract art I appreciate, where the purpose is to explore some intrinsic aspect of the material instead of being some highly controlled pattern that could have been rendered in a variety of mediums equally well without saying anything about the medium.
For example, I think the most visually interesting form of abstract painting is one that explores paint’s tendency to drip and run and how different colors can be built up in imperfect layers that allow lower layers to show through in places.
Something like that has something to say about painting while a tightly executed pattern no matter how elaborate doesn’t.
The abstract mosaic below is similarly exploring something intrinsic about mosaic, in this case the concentric andamento of curving rows of tile:
Donate for Public Art
Jennifer says that she is working on the Metamorphosis Community Mosaic Mural in Olympia, Washington. They are raising funds for the project by tax-deductible donations through a 501C3: donate to project.