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Kennedy, Mat Barber

exhibiting artist
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1706 S. Halsted St.
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Website: MBK Studios

I studied architecture in England at Sheffield University and at the Royal College of Art in London where I began to use paintings to explore the subject. Since graduating in 1988 I have traveled extensively filling sketchbooks with observation drawings and paintings which are the source for all of my studio work. I hope that the paintings reflect my understanding and passion for the stuff of architecture; bricks and mortar, plaster, concrete and steel, built up in layers, decaying in pieces. I use a mixture of water-based media and collaged papers to achieve the rich textures of my urban landscapes which celebrate the beauty of our everyday environment.

I became a full-time painter in 1990 and upon election in 1994 became one of the 58 members of Britainns Royal Institute of Painters in WaterColours. My work sells in galleries in London and throughout England and in Charleston, SC and Aspen, CO here in the USA.

Born: London, England, 1962

Educated: Royal College of Art, London. M.A., R.C.A.

Department of Architecture, 1986-88

The University of Sheffield. B.A. 1st class honours department of Architecture, 1981-84

Member: Royal Institute of Painters in
Watercolours, (R.I.), Elected 1994

Federation of British Artists, Since 1994

Current Representation:

Shell House Gallery, Herefordshire; Since 1992

Linda Blackstone Gallery, Middlesex; Since 1993

ES Lawrence Galleries, Aspen, CO; Since 2005

Richard James Gallery, Charleston, SC


Ameritus, 211 W Wacker Chicago; 2005

Park Community Church, Chicago; 2001

The Marchday Group, London; 2000

Chicago Public Library; 1998

Hinsdale Center for the Arts, Illinois; 1998

Pollard Thomas and Edwards, Architects, London; 1997

Hertfordshire County Council, County Art Collection; 1996

Rollins Hudig Hall of London, an Aon Company; 1995


International Artistt June issue, illustrated article; 2005

US Artt Jan issue featuring top 50 prints of 2000; 2001
US Artt Dec issue interview; 2000
The Chicago Sun Timess Jan 30th illustrated interview; 1998
Leisure Painterr Dec issue instructional article; 1997
The Chicago Readerr Sep 26th interview; 1997
The Times of Keralaa review article; 1995


All of my work begins with observation, sitting in the streets painting, drawing and working out what is typical about the vernacular. Finding what identifies a place--materials, devices, scales, and colors--and also looking at the quirky aberrations, the bits that donnt fit the puzzle and that have gone wrong, absurd bits, and how they reflect the history, the culture and the people. Also part of what I am doing is looking beyond the architecture and trying to somehow get a sense of the experience of being somewhere. Not what it looks like, but more what it feels like, which includes noise, weather, temperature, intensity, temperament. Certainly in any body of my work, I hope that there is a cumulative impression of what it is like to be in a particular place.

People are conspicuously absent from my paintings, but are present by implication. I like to think that if a window is open, it is open because someone opened it for air, then went to make some tea. People add things, take things away, throw stones, put up and take down signs. They touch door frames which get dirty by the handle. They scratch the door by the keyhole. Those are the bits I like to study and inspect.

I am striving to get away from the flatness that is inherent in water color and I try to make my paint more complex and layered to reflect the complexity and evolution of the architectural process.
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