Enriching Burien Through the Arts

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We are pleased to feature the abstract paintings of Ken DeRoux in the January-March exhibit at the Burien Arts Gallery Wall, Highline Heritage Museum, 819 SW 152nd Street, Burien, WA.

“What appeals to me, but can also frustrate me, is the central difficulty of abstraction: that while there may not be any “rules,” each painting develops its own internal logic, which cannot be known when the process begins,” he said. Writing about his early attraction to abstract painting, Ken wrote: “I felt connected to something that expanded my experience of being alive, but it was on some emotional, non-verbal level. It was a feeling. This is something I try to approach in my own work.”

“A painting, at its most basic or most exalted level, is simply an aesthetic object.  It is an object for contemplation, a visual record of the artist’s hand and thought processes,” Ken stated. “The viewer may or may not “connect” with it, as we all appreciate things a little differently.  But if he or she does connect, then maybe there is a sense of a shared outlook, an appreciation by the viewer both of a work’s uniqueness and its references.  Art doesn’t need a purpose.  One can like it or not.”

“My early work was nature-based and representational,” he continued. “I still like to draw and sketch from nature, but I have always made attempts at developing an abstract style.  What I am trying to combine in these pieces is the openness of total abstraction with ambiguously referential patterns or shapes: water, rocks, strata, branches “pleats”, natural forms.”

“I work in a variety of mediums, but mostly oil on canvas and acrylic on paper.  I usually begin with a sketch of an idea, and then let the painting develop.  Everything gets reworked, often numerous times, until I feel the piece reaches some sense of equilibrium,” he said.

Ken moved to Burien in 2009 after a long career in Juneau, Alaska as curator at the Alaska State Museum and as a painter. Starting with expressive landscapes, Ken’s work became increasingly abstract.

He has participated in more than 70 solo and group exhibitions, primarily in Alaska and the Seattle area. In 2012, his work was displayed at the Washington State Legislature. His work is in the permanent collections of the Alaska State Museum, Anchorage Museum, Museum of the North at the University of Alaska, Alaska State Council on the Arts, Juneau-Douglas City Museum, Key Bank Juneau, Morris Communications, and many private collections.

Ken’s work has been featured in a range of publications:  Visions of Alaska, Morris Communications, Augusta, GA 2003; Painting Alaska, Kesler Woodward, Alaska Geographic, Vol.27 No. 3, 2000;  Icebreakers , Alaska ‘s Most Innovative Artists, Decker Art Services, Anchorage/University of Washington Press, Seattle, 1999; The Artist and the American Landscape, John Driscoll, First Glance Books, Cobb, CA, 1998; Beyond Description, M.B. Michaels, Sky High Publishing, Fairbanks, AK. 1995; and A Sense of Wonder, Kesler Woodward, University of Alaska Museum, Fairbanks, AK. 1995.

Ken grew up in Juneau. After high school, he moved to California to attend the University of California Berkeley, where he experienced and photographed the war protests, demonstrations, and sit-ins of the 1960s, graduating in 1964. He earned his BFA in Photography from San Francisco Institute of Art in 1969 and worked at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art before returning to Juneau.

After retiring from the Alaska State Museum in 2006, Ken and his wife, Sybil, spent two years traveling and living in Istanbul and in southern France before settling in Burien,

To see more works by Ken DeRoux, go to https://www.kderoux.com/

All works on display at the Museum are for sale by the artist