Try. Acrylic Paint

Try. Acrylic Paint

Try. Acrylic Paint

Try. Acrylic Paint

Terri Kern

Cincinnati, OH


1991  MA Ohio University
1987  BA Xavier University

Solo Exhibitions

2013 Balance, Humler & Nolan
2011 Bridge, Fifth Street Gallery
2010 After, Thomas J. Funke Gallery
2009  Forty-Five, Canton Museum of Art

Group Exhibitions

2014 Contemporary Narrative, Clifton Cultural Arts Center
2014 Earthworks, Florida Craftsmen Gallery
2013 6 x 6 x 30, San Angelo Museum of Fine Art
2013   Confluence, San Giuseppe Art Gallery

Selected Collections

Canton Museum of Art
Proctor and Gamble (Cincinnati, OH)
The Milton Hershey School
Pinellas County Arts Council
Indiana Wesleyan University
McHenry County College

Artist Statement

As a ceramic artist, I work on dimensional forms all the time, and felt that working with an ostrich egg would easily play to my strengths. I had an idea that I liked and selected a color palette. I threw several bases on the wheel for the egg to sit upon, and started the process of preparing the egg, while I carved the base for the egg. I transferred drawn images to card stock and with an exacto knife, created several intricate stencils to transfer my carefully laid out design to the egg.

Then, I started to paint the egg with acrylics. The background was a blended color palette transitioning from a pale blue to rich dark blues and purples. The stencils were used to transfer the designs onto the egg. I painted a grassy knoll that ran around the bottom of the egg and one leafy tree, which provided shade for the chair that sat under it. I began to paint in the details, and when I was finished, realized that the painted egg and its corresponding base didn’t work at all. I had attempted to make something that was just nice to look at, but which lacked depth. So, like any self respecting artist, I started over, painting the piece completely white. I realized that I couldn’t treat the egg like it was an anonymous canvas, with no real purpose. I needed to treat the egg like it was something that I had made; like it was an object of value that would communicate my perspective. I went back to the purpose of the Art360 exhibition: to support the Ohio Art League. I thought about what artists do and why we are an important part of society. In the end, I realized that artists are the visual stylists and documentarians of our time. We are always trying; trying to grow and evolve both technically and conceptually; trying to look at the world from a unique perspective; trying to reframe the conversation; trying to communicate with the viewer; trying to connect through the work we make.

It seemed appropriate then, that I would title my egg “Try” and that I would have to try again. 

I reconsidered my color palette and simplified it. I added more elements and complexity to the design. I treated it not like a canvas, but like a piece of clay. I threw away my stencils and drew directly on the egg. I painted the design in using white in the positive spaces and green in the negative spaces. I then masked out everything but the trees and the chair and painted those with several layers of a reactive metallic paint, and then painted and repainted an activator on the newly painted surfaces, causing the metallic paint to rust over the course of eight hours. Once the rusted areas were dry, I sealed them, removed the masking agent, and developed the rest of the painted areas. Finally, it was time to varnish. Unfortunately, the varnish changed the rusted color of the trees and they had to be repainted and given new details. Try and try again. It’s what we artists do until we get it right.  

My work has always documented my personal history. Each individual piece functions as a visual marker which commemorates a single moment, event or memory. Because of this, my work changes and shifts as it follows the natural progression of my life and experiences.  

The past couple of years have been full of challenges, both personal and professional, requiring me to view my life in a different way, resulting in discoveries and evolutions and the letting go of things that no longer matter. The same is true of painting the egg. It was more challenging than I expected but the difficulties led to new skills and insights.

To express my ideas, I’ve developed my own narrative language, with a variety objects, animals and colors becoming symbols for concepts and emotions.

Trees represent compromise and strength;

The moon is the presence of emotion;

Stars light the way when circumstances seem dark;

Pages symbolize ideas waiting to be created;

Bundled pencils represent creativity;

The hanging apron stands for tradition;

Chairs embody a feeling of security;

Books are my ever evolving history;

Green represents growth;

White is the color of vulnerability and surrender; and

Rust speaks to the idea that things can be forgotten, start to decay, and then be found, cleaned and resurrected.