Kena Kitchengs, Raven and La Pérouse, 2018, linocut, hand-carved stamps, 9.25″ x 3.35″ x 3.35″. This piece is on view right now at Ivester Contemporary.

It’s always exciting when a 3-D piece gets juried into one of our exhibitions since it’s more common to see printed works on the wall and behind glass. Kena Kitchengs makes gorgeous books and she the the first 5×5 artist of 2022 that we are highlighting.  To give you a little taste, here are images from Kitchengs’s recent PrintAustin Instagram takeover:

What is an artist’s book? It is not an art book; rather, it exists as both a work of art and an artifact. Exhibiting 5×5 artist Kitchengs works in the margins between those forms with thoughtfulness, ease, and innovation. Kitchengs artist’s books are interactive, dimensional, and easily shared, expanding on the conventional book format to become dynamic sculptural objects.  She uses a variety of printmaking techniques in her limited edition books including lithography, dry lithography, linocut, and hand-carved stamps on materials ranging from kozo paper and regular printmaking cotton rag paper to fabric or even leather.

Using this form, Kitchengs re-tells stories and myths, both obscure and familiar. “I look for them without knowing it and find them without wanting to, digest them and turn them, almost always, into artist’s books. I like to narrate through the artist’s book because I can use its form, its tactile qualities and its materiality to tell part of the story. I treat stories as if they were boxes full of objects: I take the ones I like the most, sometimes from several boxes at the same time, and put something new together with them.”

Born in Caracas, Kitchengs now lives in Mexico. For about 6 years, she has primarily been devoted to the artist’s book, creating in small editions. Recently she has begun to incorporate pottery into her artistic work.

View Kitchengs work at Ivester Contemporary
Part of our 5×5 online exhibition this year included an in-person element at Ivester Contemporary. After our juror, Caitlin Clay,  Curator of Exhibitions at the Art Museum of Southeast Texas (AMSET), chose the five exhibiting artists based on their five submitted works, Ivester Contemporary chose two works per artist to hang in their auxiliary gallery. The show is up until January 22, 2022 with an opening on January 14–a kickoff event for PrintAustin’s 2022 festival! 

To view more of Kena Kitcheng’s work, visit kitchengs.wordpress.com/cleosart.com or the virtual iteration of 5×5:

You can learn more about Kena Kitchengs and her work in episode 28 of the Hello Print Friend podcast, conducted in Spanish.


The 5X5
In partnership with Ivester Contemporary, PrintAustin’s 2nd annual online juried exhibition, The 5×5, is juried by Caitlin Clay, Curator of Exhibitions at the Art Museum of Southeast Texas. This virtual exhibition–with an in-person element at Ivester–showcases five works by five contemporary artists from the United States, Mexico, and Poland, giving us a broad survey of printmaking happening across the globe. 

This year’s selected artists include Kena Kitchengs, Ryan O’Malley, Junli Song, Anna Trojanowska, and Linda Whitney

Ivester Contemporary
Ivester Contemporary is an Austin-based contemporary fine art gallery committed to connecting people with leading local and regional artists and ideas. Rotating exhibitions are focused on creating a context for contemplation, deepening appreciation for the visual arts, and facilitating a dialog between the artist and their viewers. Ivester Contemporary is located within the Canopy Creative Complex in East Austin, a central hub for artists, gallerists, and other creative types.

Hello, Print Friend
Hello, Print Friend is a podcast dedicated to the celebration and amplification of contemporary printmaking and its culture. Releasing interviews every week with artists, activists, curators, and print champions, we explore what it is that brings together this passionate, yet often geographically separated community, across a press bed and around the world.