West Gallery

Beyond the Kármán Line

Caroline Kent


September 8 – October 20, 2018
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 8, 4 – 6 p.m.

Visiting Artist Lecture: Monday, October 15, 7 p.m. in the Visual Arts Building Lecture Hall

All events are free and open to the public.

The Kármán Line, named after engineer and physicist Theodore von Kármán, commonly represents the boundary between Earth's atmosphere and outer space. This reference to the crossing of territories relates specifically to the artist’s wall-sized paintings that, due to their scale as well as their scumbled, black backgrounds and their installation within narrow, niche-like walls, creates an alternate viewing space that invites physical, spatial and emotional interaction. Positing abstract painting as a site that can be enacted upon, this exhibition explores a diverse art practice engaging that site through text, the body and performance. The artist is St. Catherine University's 2018 Amy Marie Sears Visiting Artist.

Caroline Kent received her M.F.A from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, in 2008, and a B.S. in Art at Illinois State University, Normal, IL, in 1998. Recent solo exhibitions include How Objects Move through Walls, the inaugural exhibition at co. (company project space), Minneapolis (2018); Disappearance of the Word, Appearance of the World, The Union for Contemporary Art, Omaha, NE (2018); and Joyful is the Dark, Public Functionary, Minneapolis (2016). Selected group and two-person exhibitions include Out of Easy Reach, DePaul Art Museum, Chicago; Midnight Sun, Triumph, Chicago (2017); It Will Be More Like Scratching than Writing, Goldfinch, Chicago (2017); Nate Young and Caroline Kent, The Suburban, Oak Park, IL (2013); and Go Tell it on the Mountain, California African American Museum, Los Angeles (2012). Upcoming projects include solo exhibitions at The College of New Jersey, Ewing Township, NJ and two-person exhibitions at Napoleon in Philadelphia and Jenkins Johnson in New York. Kent is a recipient of the 2016 McKnight Fellowship for Visual Arts; a 2015 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant; and a 2009 Jerome Fellowship in Fine Art. She is a current Fellow at Shandaken Projects Paint School, New York, the co-founder of Bindery Projects, Minneapolis, and her work is in the permanent collections of the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and Macalester College, Saint Paul, MN.

This exhibition is presented as part of a larger collaboration between Augsburg University, Bethel University, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) and St. Catherine University in conjunction with the publication of Kenneth Steinbach's book, Creative Practices for Visual Artists (Routledge, 2018).

In celebration of this collaboration, please join us for a panel discussion between Steinbach and artists featured at each institution: Wednesday, October 17, 6:30 p.m. at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Auditorium 150

Kenneth Steinbach will be in conversation with Margery Amdur (Augsburg), Matthew Bourbon (Bethel), Caroline Kent (St. Kate's), and Jenene Nagy (MCAD). A book signing event and reception immediately follow.


artist statement

Caroline Kent

The relationship between painting, language, and translation has been at the forefront of my artistic practice over the last 10 years. Through my work, I'm invested in finding new ways to communicate that subvert and complicate normative reading and writing structures. I make paintings inhabited by an invented visual vocabulary of forms similar to ideograms. They refer to written language but are liberated from certain formal restrictions. This has allowed for experimentation in the construction of visually minimal indexical forms to ones that are more complex and varied. The work is a response to the limits of language and points to its potential as an open semantic form.


Exhibition Essay by Nicole Watson

Excerpt from: Gateways to the where

Kent’s diverse influences range from Cryllic film posters to eastern European architecture and the writings of Herta Müller, a Nobel-prize winning novelist. During a recent conversation with the artist, we talked about science-fiction films on Netflix and Kent mentioned the “alternative reality” of religious icons. She was referring to the stage-like setting she had created for her largest paintings in her St. Kate’s show, explaining plainly: “I’m going to use this space to talk about this other space.” My interest was piqued by this idea of icons—images—giving access to a new space that was simultaneously physical and conceptual. I decided to revisit histories of icons to see what they could teach me about Kent’s exhibition in an effort to better understand her paintings as sites where meaning is derived and transformed. How did the artist engage new dimensions of time and space?

Download and read the entire essay.


visiting artist lecture

Caroline Kent discusses her creative practice during her public lecture as the 2018 Amy Marie Series Visiting Artist.


in the exhibition

Image Gallery

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