Mixed-media artist and painter Kiki McGrath creates colorful works with a focus on gesture as an object. In many of Kiki’s most recent works, swirling, tangled lines of paint take on the role of a central figure, blending with backgrounds both analogous and contrastive.


I appreciate the way Kiki is using her current practice to explore the material of paint – not just what paint can help depict, but how paint itself behaves when applied to a canvas. In the series Aerial Roots, Kiki titles her works with reference to land masses and natural formations, leading the viewer to read more into her color choices (lush greens accented with deeper tones of blue and purple), while at the same time examining the power of a single painted gesture to suggest a recognizable form.


Kiki’s recent works remind me a bit of paintings by Josh Smith, where the artist focuses on the painted lines of letterforms, abstracting them past recognition. Kiki takes this a step further in Helicon, where she explores differences and relationships between types of lines.


Dallas Jeffs 


An article that Patrick Beldio and I wrote is published in SARTS: Society for the Arts in Religious and Theological Studies! Read about the ReFORMation exhibition here:





The Washington Post       February 9, 2018

In the galleries

By Mark Jenkins 

Kiki McGrath’s The Emperor of Ice Cream


In the abstract paintings of “Helicon,” also at Studio, D.C. artist Kiki McGrath contrasts forms that are hard-edged and geometric with ones that are soft and loose. The works on canvas are colorful, yet less striking than the large wall drawing that offers a similar juxtaposition in black and white. The black square at the piece’s center is flanked by freer gestures on both sides, and the spirals on the left diminish into lines that emulate the shape of a 3-D element: a set of hanging branches. Painted black, the wood resembles a brushstroke in midair, hinting that even the simplest jotting owes its essence to nature.


Jean Jinho Kim: The Space in Between and Kiki McGrath: Helicon Through Feb. 24 at Studio Gallery, 2108 R St. NW. 202-232-8734. studiogallerydc.com.


Kiki McGrath:  Helicon  

January 31 - February 24, 2018


First Friday Reception: February 2,  6 - 8pm

Artist Reception: Saturday February 10, 5 - 7pm


2108 R Street NW

Washington DC, 20008



Wed-Fri 1-6pm, Sat 11-6pm



Messenger, copy after fresco in the Basilica di San Francesco, Assisi, Italy