Kristen van Diggelen Sloan received her BA in Visual Art from UCLA in 2006, and her MFA in Painting from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2009. She has exhibited her work locally and nationally. Sloan moved from San Francisco, CA to the Carolinas in 2014. She currently lives and works in rural York County, SC.
Kristen van Diggelen Sloan’s paintings and sculptures aim directly at the eternal. They are visual remnants of an unrelenting pursuit of the invisible – truths well hidden in both the physical and psycho/spiritual realms. Sloan looks to science, poetry and various religious traditions and practices to unravel the mysteries of nature, and the nature of reality.
Her often large-scale oil paintings employ Baroque virtuosity and illusion, anthropomorphizing natural elements, to create monumentally scaled portraits of a spiritual journey or condition. Whether an adulterated landscape or a figurine amidst precarious circumstances, Sloan’s paintings are sites of pleasure and pain, anxiety and tranquility, mirroring the human interior where one is both revitalized and victimized by their own psychological surroundings. She uses imagery – complex in signification and often steeped with literary, symbolic or historical reference – purposefully to keep secret and/or to reveal narrative.
Her more recent ceramic work adopts a maternal lens, and is inspired by the Southern craft tradition of the face jug, the early desert mothers (women often portrayed as both harlot and heroine, Babylon and Jerusalem), as wells as women saints who mastered what the poet/philosopher John O’Donohue called “the art of inwardness, or pedagogy of interiority.”
Sloan looks to the material lavishness of Dutch and Spanish Baroque still life painting to peer, dimly, into the riddles of common experience; Rembrandt for instruction with creating divine light and enchanting darkness; Jay DeFeo for incorporating representation with abstraction, refinement with expressionism. The monumentality of her work functions within a similar discourse that Mark Rothko used to describe the scale of his larger pictures: “…you are in it, it is not a reducing commanding experience, but one that is human and intimate.”