Kirby Fredendall


Myriad conditions of light created by the time of day and the weather illuminate textures in the water, patterns in the clouds, and juxtapositions of color that richly vibrate with one another to form the visual experience of the landscape. The morning light slowly eases up over the horizon, gently lighting the clouds, and later seen from the same vantage, the evening fire of the sunset races through the darkening sky. These dynamic combinations of light, shape, pattern, and color inspire Kirby Fredendall's artwork.

Fredendall enjoys the manipulation of materials and how 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. Areas of sky, water, and land are knit together with brushstrokes to represent their seamless interaction under the common conditions of weather and time. In her recent acid etched tin works, areas of watery marks are left visible to further suggest the underlying layers of the landscape.

John O’Donohue speaks about experiences in life that allow you to “…swerve into rhythm with your deeper nature and presence….(where) you do not have to go outside yourself to come into real conversation with your soul and with the mysteries of the spiritual world.“ Fredendall does not strive to recreate the particulars of these places that inspire her, but rather the timelessness of the elements of light, weather, and geometries that inform them. Her artwork is not about how the landscape looks as much as about how the landscape feels. Fredendall's goal is to create an image that allows the viewer to engage with it in such a way as to invite similar introspection. O’Donohue goes on to say that the “Landscape is not all external, some has crept inside the soul. Human presence is infused with landscape.” These are the landscapes that Fredendall seeks to create in her artwork.

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.