Kristin Texeira Talks Color, Memory, and Abstraction at Topdrawer Boston

Kristin Texeira, Studio View, Image courtesy of the artist

At Topdrawer, a cozy and curious stationary store in Back Bay, Boston, artist Kristin Texeira kicked off the store’s Nomad Lecture Series on January 29th. The lecture series features artists and creatives who live their lives by the company’s mantra of “tools for nomads.”  Kristin Texeira is currently a Brooklyn based artist, who was born in Natick, MA and graduated from MassArt in 2010. Returning to Boston, Texeira spoke with the audience about her use of color theory, memories, and nostalgia in her practice.

For Texeira, her work develops through her travels, movements, and sense of place. Using memories as cache or starting point, she relies on abstractions of color and form to depict scenes, environments, moods, and sentiments. Her work attempts to capture something we often deem as impossible; the essence of memory and nostalgia. This notion is based largely upon her travels and nomadic lifestyle appreciation. Though she is now based in Brooklyn, Texeira described that her sense of home resides “somewhere between the East Coast and West Coast.” Her residencies and personal travels have brought her around the United States, Europe, and even an undisclosed location on a boat.

Kristin Texeira in conversation at Topdrawer, Image courtesy of Lauren O’Neil for Topdrawer

Speaking specifically about her practice, Texeira shared that each of her paintings have a specific color palette that is tied to a memory, place or experience. The memories take very specific forms. For example, she often uses golds and blues in pieces that include memories from her time in Martha’s Vineyard. She can look at one of her paintings and based on the colors, recall the memory that inspired the work. Color was the first to establish itself as the core of her work, Texeira explains that the abstraction of forms was more complicated to come into. Initially she never thought she could be an abstract artist. Through traveling, growing, and an admiration of the work of Richard Diebenkorn, she realized how something could be simplified in order to express more.

Kristin Texeira, “With Autumn Closing In” 24 x 18 inches, oil on paper (2016) Image courtesy of the artist

Because the nature of Texeira’s work is rooted in her own memories, each piece possesses a story.  Her work follows a method of abstraction as her way to reflect and represent the elaborate and intense impressions that cannot be necessarily be made clear even through immense detail. Growing up in Massachusetts, her early work was inspired by memories of her childhood. She developed these memories into her paintings throughout college, amply extracting and exhausting these early recollections as she pursued her studies. Texeira recognized that the manner in which she initially held onto memories and moments made it difficult to make work of new environments. As she transferred the aura of these memories from the ephemeral to the physical, there was an incomplete impression of a place by means of a release and permanence in the expression of physical detail. Learning to identify what details were relevant and at the forefront of these memories developed her new expression of memory representation.

Kristin Texeira, “A Swim to the Waterfall Ledge” 14 x 11 inches, oil on paper (2016) Image courtesy of the artist

Recalling a pivotal shift in her artwork, Texeira described visiting Italy for the first time during college. She reflected on how overwhelmed she felt by the breadth of new experiences, culture, and colors—so much so that she simply couldn’t capture it all fast enough. Texeira’s process almost always includes writing and reflection, often starting her day by waking up and writing in a journal. She generously shared this intimate process with the audience by passing around journals from several of her travel experiences and everyday life. Texeira has always attempted to capture and preserve things that are important to her through these journals. At her parents home, she keeps a journal-filled box with the words “most important box of Kristin’s life. Save in case of fire” written on the front.  From overheard dialogues and collected napkins strangers had written on, to postage stamps, magazine clippings, post-it notes, diagrams, and diary entries; the pages of these journals provide a glimpse into her art making process. The tactile collection of memories and deeply personal writings have no curated organization, rather they show a passionate adoration for moments.

Kristin Texeira, Journal, Image courtesy of Lauren O’Neil for Topdrawer

Recently, Texeira worked on the mural for the Tictail Market on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The mural covered the corner storefront with a collection of her small vibrant abstract paintings for a few weeks before being painted back to black. As someone whose work is rooted in a personal connection to a space, the experience of the ephemeral mural, is synonymous with her current feeling of being a working artist in NYC.

Surprisingly, she shared, “I have made like 6,000 paintings in the last year.” Constantly adding to such a prolific body of work, however, has become an exhausting, and exciting endeavor, even causing Texeira to sometimes lose sight of her original inspiration — a concept many artists are familiar with.

Kristin Texeira, “Natick, MA” Image courtesy of the artist

Yet, amidst the hustle of making and producing, Texeira has maintained a style of work that is uniquely her own. Despite the personal nature of her work, the paintings she produces are captivating and evoking in a manner that makes one feel as though the painting is speaking directly to them and their own experiences.

If you’re wondering where you can get your eyes on those 6,000 paintings, Texeira’s website is a great place to start. Her memory maps take you through her travels, journeys, and even her hometown, Natick, MA. For more on Texeira, stay tuned here at Boston Art Review and give her gorgeous instagram a follow.