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, Drawing, Installation, Mixed Media, Museum/Gallery, Painting, Performance, Photography, Theology, Works on Paper
Artist / Personal Statement
From the inception of my artistic practice, I have used my work to reflect on longing and suffering. My work began as a response to my battle with depression. That we suffer implies that we exist in a state of fragility. If we were not vulnerable, we could not suffer. Inspired by illuminated manuscripts, I chose gold leaf as an integral component of my studio practice from the beginning. Besides being an homage to the illuminators of the past, the material’s fragility is attractive to me, nearly as much as its delicacy and luminescence. The foil is irrevocably changed as layers of ink are laid over it—sometimes ruined, sometimes transformed. The presence of darkness and light within all of my works is vital to my practice. I can’t help but think about the way that God, as described in Exodus 33:20, upon whose face no one can look without dying, veiled himself in fragile flesh to conquer in Glory. And he did this through suffering, through being changed, and he invites us to experience the same. The physicality of the process of incorporating gold leaf into each work is a sort of extended meditation on fragility, beauty, transformation, and glory.

I gravitate toward non-representation because I believe the unseen spiritual realities of the world are as real as the things we can see and touch. By eliminating objects which I can categorize, the unseen is given a kind of visual presence. I am convinced that the spiritual reality constitutes a rich world that is vital to our human wholeness. I illuminate to imagine the measureless depths of creation, to reach into them and to invite others along. Making non-representational art allows me to engage with the wonder of the materials themselves, discovering what they can do and the way that they take up space on a particular surface. The process allows me to draw connections and make meaning from mark, texture, and color.

I stumbled into acrylic ink early in my practice, fascinated by the deluge of working in wet media. I enjoy the challenge and the struggle of each painting. There is certainly a dance to it, with some unpredictability and submission to the forces of gravity on a pool of wet media, the way the pigment shifts when you adjust the ratio of water or medium to ink, and the way that the painting transforms before your eyes as liquid evaporates and pigment remains. There’s a push-pull, a coaxing, and a waiting for something to be revealed.

I tend to make work for a specific place and body of viewers, often with a liturgical function. My process begins with a spark during study of scripture, theology, or poetry. I create bodies of work that are unified by a single theme or subject.

I believe in the value of connecting faith and art for the modern mind, both as an artist and a beholder of great work. It is vital to culture to wrestle visually with ideas that are difficult to voice. I also believe it is good for the human soul to grapple with our inherent limitedness, our life’s givenness, and the fact that we are partners for better or worse with the unseen world that sits behind what we can touch.
Accomplishments / CV

Geheimnis - John XXIII Gallery, The Basilica of St. Mary - Minneapolis, MN
Geheimnis - Four Chapter Gallery - Kansas City, MO​ (June & July)

Geheimnis - Sojourn Arts - Louisville, KY (March 8-April 26)

Psalms for Prayer - Briarcliff Church - Kansas City, MO
Let the bones that you have broken rejoice - Grace Presbyterian Church - Lawrence, KS

True and Better - BVBC, Overland Park, KS
Let the bones that you have broken rejoice - Four Chapter Gallery - Kansas City, MO ​

Magnificat - John XXIII Gallery, The Basilica of St. Mary - Minneapolis, MN

Magnificat - The Benedictine Center - St. Paul, MN
All Flesh is Grass - Beggar's Table Gallery - Kansas City, MO
To Stand in Tension - Redeemer Fellowship - Kansas City, MO
My Iron Heart - Four Chapter Gallery - Kansas City, MO


Iversen Center for Faith, East Lobby Permanent Installation - University of St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Paul, MN

Idealized Imperfection - Department of Art History Gallery, University of St. Thomas Aquinas - St. Paul, MN (Two-person show with Natalia Berglund)

Illumination: wrestling with God through visual art, poetry, and music - selections from Brahms Requiem and Holy Sonnets exhibiitons - Mabee Library, Mid-America Nazarene University


“Beauty from the Ashes” - Kairos Gallery - St. Andrew’s Church - Mount Pleasant, SC

"To Flourish"- THE SHEMA - Four Chapter Gallery - Kansas City, MO (juried exhibit - second prize)
"Pure Joy" - Genesis 1:1 Arts - Kansas City, MO (invitational exhibit)

"Renaissance 12:21" - Four Chapter Gallery - Kansas City, MO (curated exhibit)

"Set Apart" - Calvary Chapel Gallery - Kansas City, MO (invitational exhibit)


The University of St. Thomas Aquinas - St. Paul, MN - Permanent six-panel installation in east lobby of Iversen Center for Faith

The Basilica of St. Mary - Minneapolis, MN - Two works from “Magnificat”

Redeemer Fellowship - Kansas City, MO - Permanent installation, sixteen panels, “To Stand in Tension”

Briarcliff Church - North Kansas CIty, MO - permanent installation, six panels, “Psalms for Prayer”

DEMDACO, Kansas City, MO - two works from “My Iron Heart”

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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