Kristina Penhoet A&M1

Like Japanese tea masters who seek perfection, but find true beauty only in the imperfections caused by chance, nature, and human interaction, Kristina is fascinated by the challenging experiences and emotions that make up the depth and breadth of human experience. In her work, she considers seemingly negative events such as abandonment, betrayal, disconnection, judgement, misrepresentation, and loss and the accompanying feelings of fear, sadness, revulsion, and anger, choosing to express them in abstract sculptural forms. 

These biomorphic forms are inspired by the human body (and other living organisms) to connect the viewer to the work and invoke the broad range of feelings that we are capable of feeling. The repetition of forms common in much of her work is intended to enhance the emotional response of the viewer while reminding them of the universality of their experiences. She wants to challenge viewers to be curious, seeking understanding and, perhaps, even beauty, in those most difficult moments that make us human and lead us to profound empathy and a greater understanding of one another.

Kristina employs traditional and modern felt-making with the incorporation of other materials (glass, metal, plastic and textiles) in the creation of most of her work. Her choice of medium reinforces her themes and the tactile (and, sometimes, visceral) qualities of her work. Although much of her artwork is intended to be wall-hung, the pieces are intentionally unframed. The nature of her work does not lend itself to the creation of a finite boundary. Each piece becomes part of its environment, inviting the viewer into the experience.

Kristina began working with fiber and textiles as a small child, learning to crochet and sew during her summer visits to her grandparent’s farm on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest. She continued to pursue her love of making during quiet moments while earning a degree in biology and working in healthcare. When she realized she needed to commit to a more creative life, Kristina attended Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, concentrating on sculpture and environmental design, and began working in model-making, film production and stage design. Inspired by the production design work and a continued interest in form and space, she pursued a graduate degree in architecture. After 10 years of architectural practice, she rekindled her love of making and rediscovered fiber as a medium.

Originally from Oregon, Kristina currently resides in Washington, DC with her family and a naughty dog that wants to be good.

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