This and That

[![][1]][2] Echoed visually by her shock of red hair, Kendra Herring is set to become her own prairie fire."It's slightly terrifying, but I've learned that I just have to trust myself."Herring is an artist in transition. Best known in Lawrence for her sculptures of found objects, random material pieces brought together to depict a strange narrative, she is feeling a pull toward a simpler medium, and a less cluttered life. The impending fire just waiting for her driptorch: Cleaning out her studio."It's kind of driving me crazy, because I've worked this way for years now, in terms of with objects. I've always been attracted to objects and going in search of them. But I have this feeling I'm going to have this major purge soon, and start over in terms of objects, and focus more on drawing."This sort of clearing, like the fields surrounding us, is vital for new, though familiar, growth. Herring's studio, in an upstairs bedroom of her East Lawrence house, is the artistic synonym to a local forest. Rather than trees, vines, and brush growing where the seeds and tubers may dig in, sculptural boxes and light fixtures develop amid a canopy of parts and pieces. It's an organic type of studio, one where art bursts out of randomness stimulated to a perfect combination.[![][3]][4] This imminent purge is not so surprising considering Herring's other true passion: the whole foods movement. In her work as a personal chef and in her own kitchen, Herring is stripping down to the essentials in life: locally grown food, organic when possible, and very few if any processed goods. Similarly, the minimal necessities are attracting her to drawing again."I love the simplicity of just needing a piece of paper and a pencil compared to all of this other stuff. It's just a different way of working," she said.Herring's current drawings, in many ways, are treated much like her sculptures. Found antique photographs are collected and scanned onto premium Fabriano paper, upon which she draws seemingly diverse images. The drawings are exquisite-intricate detail, beautiful proportion. It's the powerful combination of skill and sensibility, executed with respect to materials and history.![][5] "It's really meditative, and that's also what I like. I love doing detail work and things that are sometimes repetitive," she said. Inspiration springs from medical textbooks, dictionaries, children's stories, and even a junk-shop acquired Spirograph set.The final works read like antique treasures, small stories told in a familiar language not quite our own. This new series is being prepared for a show at Simpson College in Iowa this winter. Herring will discuss a chronology of her career and preview her new work at the first monthly [SEED Artists' Lecture Thursday, Jan. 18][6].In the meantime, a return to drawing is not the only sprout reaching for light. Herring has a greeting card business she wants to nurture, and she is now curating art shows at the [Bourgeois Pig][7] downtown. (The first exhibit, a group printmaking show co-curated with Michael Krueger, [opens January 21.][8])Which is not to say that the itch to pick up the band saw is leaving her forever. Regarding sculpture: "I love that process that there are steps you have to take to make this form, to make it actually plug in and light up. There's actually a little checklist of things that has to happen, so there's an end to the process," she explains. "Whereas the drawing could go on forever. There's a whole different set of parameters." [1]: [2]: [3]: [4]: [5]: [6]: [7]: [8]:


bugmenot 13 years, 5 months ago

Kendra's work is really beautiful. She's definitely one of the best artists in Lawrence.

leslie 13 years, 5 months ago

Here's a little more on the lecture series:

SEED is a new monthly lecture series at 4-1-1 Artspace. A gathering place for everyone interested in local, contemporary art, SEED is free and open to the public. Short, 30- to 40-minute lectures are followed with Q&A and time to meet other people interested in the Lawrence art scene. Future lectures will include local and regional artists, arts professionals, and performances. For more information, please contact Leslie vonHolten at

kiki277 13 years, 5 months ago

Kendra is one of the best artists EVER. a continuous source of inspiration and support for me. truth and beauty reign supreme!

kiki277 13 years, 5 months ago

P.s. great article, by the way.(bad pic)

lori 13 years, 5 months ago

How was her lecture? I wish I could have gone. Kendra is seriously one of my favorite local artists. She is so talented.

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