Mystical, magical art
HIGHLAND LAKES NEWSPAPERS
Published: March 13, 2013
If you walk past a piece of Ira Kennedy's artwork, you do a double take,
back up and take a good, long look. His paintings are fascinating. With brilliant colors,
swirls and dots, Kennedy paints near-realistic landscapes that from afar don't reveal the
detail of brushstrokes you see up close. In other pieces Kennedy creates mystically
primitive works that are surreal, mythical and visceral.
"Although my work has been described as Pointillism, it is more
aligned with Australian Aboriginal Paintings, Oaxacan-painted sculptures and the art of
the Huichole Indians of Mexico, who all use dots as the primary brushstroke," Kennedy
Kennedy said his process is to take a painting from a dull state to one of
brilliance using dots to create visual shimmer, so the work is to be sensed more than
"The paintings are not an object for the eye alone, but an experience
for the mind -intimating, not imitating, that which is indescribable," he said.
"Although I can paint what I see, I have chosen to paint what can't be seen. I now
see my works as being mythological explorations immersed in a primal and eternal visual
truth." Kennedy is inspired by nature, particularly as depicted by such artists as
Van Gogh, Birger Sandzen and artists of the Southwest.
"It's all about movement, color and content," Kennedy said.
How long does painting one takes? "I generally have at least one
painting lingering on the back burner while painting another," Kennedy said. "My
smaller paintings, like 16x20-inches, take about one to two weeks. Larger pieces, like
24x36-inches can take up to a month or as much as three months." Kennedy prefers
painting larger landscapes of the Texas Hill Country. "For me painting is a nonverbal
experience so I generally listen to classical music and try not to think too much or
over-analyze what I'm doing."
What he does is a visual delight that electrifies one's thinking. His
works are available at Artisans at Rocky Hill in Fredericksburg, The Llano Fine Arts Guild
and at Kennedy's studio at 9620 North State Highway 16. You can contact Kennedy by logging
on to his website at www.irakennedy.com. Prices range from $150 to $3, 000.
Copyright (c) 2013 Lake County Life, All rights reserved.
Artisans & Ira Kennedy
by ROBERT DEMING
When visiting Artisans at Rocky Hill in Fredericksburg, Texas, you will
see an abundance of beautiful and tantalizing art: traditional oils, furniture, pottery,
wind powered kinetic sculpture. Among these many beautiful creations, several paintings
will almost jump off the wall at you, demanding attention. These are the works of Ira
Born in a tent near San Saba in 1941, son of a migrant worker, descendent
of a Cherokee great grandmother, Ira has re-surfaced in the Hill Country visual arts
world. Both Ira and his family knew he was an artist very early, and by his twenties he
found himself living in New York City, his art in a group show which included Andy Warhol.
Ira became disenchanted with the art world and found himself back in the
Hill Country, where he lived as a freelance writer, wrote special features for Texas
Monthly, Texas Highways, the Marble Falls Highlander, and other
magazines and newspapers. For five years he published the iconic Enchanted Rock Magazine,
with tantalizing stories about local history not found elsewhere. During some of this time
Ira lived adjacent to Enchanted Rock, wrote a history of The Rock, and eventually won two
National Press Association awards for environmental journalism.
Although Ira was a competent landscape painter, he wanted to be different.
As he told me, "Either you are original, or why bother?" A visit to Australia
and aboriginal art was an epiphany for him. He formed his unique style combining Native
American symbolic images, Mexican primitive, pop art, and aboriginal pointillism. When I
saw one of his paintings during First Friday Art Walk, at another gallery in
Fredericksburg, and met Ira Kennedy for the first time, I didnt know what to think
of it, I just knew him for the Enchanted Rock Magazine and as author of a history of
Enchanted Rock. As I have gotten to know him and his story, I have come to see his art as
an extraordinary blend of spiritual mystery and natural beauty, as utterly unique in a sea
of excellent Hill Country art. A viewer cannot be ambivalent about Iras paintings;
they demand attention, they tug at your soul, they will not leave you alone.
Years ago, Ira found and traced some very old rock art near Valley Spring,
in Llano County, and this led him to study and research the symbols. Eventually, he
crafted this interpretation, which is his daily prayer:
"Almighty God, creator and animator of the universe, embodiment
of all things, that of which I am, please manifest this prayer:
"Thunderbird, carry this prayer to the sun father; that the
future may be bright among us, bright and everlasting, as the nourishing water of the
earth mother. May it be bright above us, may it be bright below us; in the daytime may it
be bright, in the night time may it be bright. May the path that we follow be filled with
plenty, and our numbers merge with our prayer. Thunderbird carry this prayer to the sun
god, it is finished in beauty, it is finished in beauty."
Ira Kennedy, and his art and writing, can be found on Facebook,
www.irakennedy.com, and at the Artisans at Rocky Hill, 234 West Main Street,