Kay Kenny


Kay Kenny

Received a BFA from Syracuse University, MA from Rutgers University, and MFA from Syracuse University (all in Visual Arts).   Painter, photographer. Writes art criticism and articles on the visual arts for arts magazines. Photography teacher at New York University, and the International Center of Photography in New York City.            
2015 Arthur Griffin Legacy Award, Griffin Museum of Photography, 2009 Honorable Mention in FineArts Photography Lucie Awards. Four-time recipient of NJSCA individual artist fellowship award. Numerous one-person shows, most recently in Hudson, NY, Medellin, Columbia, Taipei,Taiwan, Lubbock, Texas and New York City.  Recent publications about her work include Photography’s Antiquarian Avant-Garde, by Lyle Rexer, Abrams Publishing, Light & Lens,Photography in the Digital Age, & Photographic Possibilities by Robert Hirsch, Focal Press as well as several other photography books. Collections include Pfizer Corporation, New York, NY The Buhl Collection, New York, NY, Southern Alleghenies Museum, Loretto, PA, Colombo Centro Americano, Medellin,Colombia, Prudential Insurance Company,Newark,NJ, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Lawrenceville, NJ. Taiwan Photo-Fest, Taipei, Taiwan, Nantong Museum, China, Brooklyn Museum Artist Books Collection, Newark Public Library Artist Books Collection,Philadelphia Free Public Library, PNC Corp., New Brunswick, NJ, Provident Bank,NJ


 Northeast by Southwest
Light pollution, like global warming, is a byproduct of human population. As our cities and towns continue to expand, the scrim of light continues its spread, blocking our view of the heavens. To those of us who are fortunate enough to see the stars unveiled in a clear rural sky the view is extraordinarily surreal. My photographs are an attempt to recreate that experience.
I have been photographing the rural night in the Northeast for over a decade. This project grew out of a larger body of work, “Into the Night in the Middle of No Where”, a poetic tribute to the rural night. In the rural night, the boundaries between the wild and the domestic tend to blur into a potent swirl of mystery, familiarity and anticipated menace. My dreams are here as well as my nightmares.
When I began to explore the Southwest I approached it like the northeast night: as a mysterious and magical experience in a rural location. As the images from the southwest revealed themselves to me I began to recognize the differences in both my vision and in the landscape itself.
Sky and landscape compete in the Southwest, each demanding dominion over our senses. There are no idle spaces here: the sky and the land push against each other in their effort to dominate the frame. I place myself in the frame, wearing white (although sometimes as no more than a flicker of light) as a reminder that these are not primordial landscapes: they are only momentarily unpeopled.
In the southwest one might call the sky a nightgown glittery with star-bling, but it becomes less of a gown and more of a night in the northeast. The northeast cloaks itself in the shadows of trees and shrubbery, hiding the barebones shape of the land and shading our eyes from the velvety sky. Occasionally a full moon punctures the limbs with slivers of light that shimmer, diamond-like on the dew-laden meadows. I stand in the shadows of these trees, remembering the stories of my childhood.
In these American landscapes the narrative of strangeness and wonderment continue side by side but the imagination twists and turns in the shadows of the northeast and in the vast open space of the southwest.


Lives and works in South Orange, NJ

  • 1977Syracuse University, MFA
  • 1972Rutgers, Mason Gross School of the Arts - New Brunswick, NJ, MA
  • 2015Photography, Davis Orton Gallery
  • 2012Into the Night in the Middle of No Where, Johnson & Johnson Corp Headquarters Gallery
  • 2014Faculty Exhibit, ICP Education Building
  • 2013Paper works, City Museum of Trenton
  • 2013Nocturnes, Mahoney Art Gallery, St Elizabeth College
  • 2016New Jersey State Council of the Arts, NJ Individual Arts Award
  • 1990Virgina Center for the Creative Arts, Sweet Briar, VA
Please contact by email. My studios are in Saugeties NY and South Orange NJ