I am interested in a 21st Century visual language that comes from the intersection of aesthetics found in the writings of D.T. Suzuki, Agnes Martin and Ad Reinhardt. For me, the material outcome of this investigation is large scale, all–over, erased, graphite drawings. Conceptual concerns in the work relate to the liminal space of bearing witness and transcendence.  The visceral and somatic audience response is a necessary element in the work. I keep my materials as simple as possible. There are complex subtleties found in minimal and post minimal work; it can feel like a puzzle with potential, a particular energy that is beyond words. It needs one’s attention and time in order for it to be activated. It is not necessarily something that is answered. I am often thinking about what it is to engage and to feel that edge.


Born and raised in Chicago, I arrived to the West in 2000. I planned to live here after making my first trip in 1980. The West was then and now the greatest physical influence for making my work.

My work is in private collections, shown locally, nationally and has been published by Phaidon Press. I am a recipient of NEA and NEH grants. My graduate work was completed at the University of Chicago; my undergraduate work completed at School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).

I have served as Assistant Director for the Division of Continuing Studies (SAIC) and Cultural Enrichment Manager for the Chicago Park District. I have taught for the Art Education Department of School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Art Depts. of Colorado State University, the University of Wyoming and Naropa University.  After serving as Lead Faculty for Visual and Media Arts in CADHu (Department of Creative Arts Design and Humanities) at Front Range Community College in Ft. Collins, Colorado, I have returned to my work as an adjunct faculty member which provides me focused time for my research and studio practice.

Contact: J.L.Kiessling@gmail.com