Kelly Kruse
  • Female
  • Independence, MO
  • United States
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Organization or Business Name
Kelly Kruse Creative
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Art Interests
Arts Ministry, Digital Imagery, Drawing, Graphic Design, Mixed Media, Painting, Performance, Photography, Theology
Artist / Personal Statement
Sehnsucht is a German word that I first came across as a music student in college. At the time, I was singing words penned by German Romantic poets, and I struggled to translate the complexity of this little word that appeared so often. “Longing,” the most common translation, falls far short of the true experience of Sehnsucht, which is more like receiving impressions of beauty that I cannot fully inhabit. These impressions feel like memories that exist in the shadows, never quite coming fully into the light. They come in the form of crisp autumn air robbing the trees of their leaves. They arise in the form of a few bars of a Brahms symphony, a few verses of a Robert Frost poem, or a conversation that I find deeply fulfilling but leaves me aching for something beyond my reach.

These moments have always come with a flurry of questions. For what exactly am I longing? Why does beholding beauty delight me and at the same time make me ache so deeply? Can anything in this world satisfy that longing fully? I make art to explore those questions. The process visually explores this longing; it is an experience that points me to the incompleteness of my soul. It stretches toward something that defines my human spirit. For me, that beauty is a remembrance of the Eden I never knew, a shadow of what it must have felt like to live in perfect Shalom, not just with God, but with my fellow man, with nature, with myself. That’s why it aches so much to witness beauty. I am arrested by it, quite literally. There are times I try to numb myself to the longing, but it is always there.

I ask questions about longing, too, as a member of an imperfect society and world, as a lover of my fellow man. I aim to paint from the inside and not the outside, as one who experiences suffering, discontent, and discord in all its dimensions. I aim to explore the beauty, the pain, and the frailty of human existence using temporal elements: acrylic paint, ink, and metal foil. Metal tarnishes over time. Paint degrades; therefore, my paintings may very well pass away one day, be painted over, or be destroyed. I never want to forget their ephemeral nature and misplace the source of the feelings I possess when I view them or make them. I work in short, energetic bursts, layering paint on thick at first and then coming back to add many lighter layers until I feel the work feels complete. This process allows me to seek answers instead of feeling like I have to have the answer when I set out.

I am deeply inspired by our shared experiences as human beings, both cultural and individual. With an extensive background and practice as a musician, I am often driven to express illuminations of music and poetry combined. The questions I ask when I combine these artistic disciplines are prismatic and harder to answer, but when explored, reveal something that brings me closer to the source of my Sehnsucht.
Accomplishments / CV
March-May 2018, Let the bones that you have broken rejoice, Four Chapter Gallery, Kansas City
September-November 2017, Magnificat, The Benedictine Center, St. Paul, MN
March 2017, All Flesh is Grass, Beggar's Table Gallery, Kansas City
January-November 2017, To Stand in Tension, Redeemer Fellowship, Kansas City
January 2017, My Iron Heart, Four Chapter Gallery, Kansas City
March 2016, Psalms of Light, Unique Finds, Kansas City
November 2015, KCAC Public Hanging, Kansas City
October 2015, The Really Affordable Art Show, BWAC Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
September 2015, Beauty, Meridian Street Gallery, Indianapolis, IN

MM Voice, Indiana University, 2011
BM Voice, Iowa State University 2008

Renaissance Studies, British Institute of Florence, Italy 2004

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At 7:21pm on February 16, 2017, Linda Vonderschmidt-LaStella said…


Please visit for a prospectus calling for international abstract art.

Linda, Director


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