Kenneth Kaminski has created a series of paintings, primarily over the past decade, that evokes the attack on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001. His work reflects both the emotional reverberations and the role of religion and ideology as sources of tensions and conflict.
Kaminski was born in Chicago in 1961. He was interested in art making as a child and with his family regularly visited the Art Institute of Chicago. He went on to study painting at Bradley University in Peoria, IL where he received his BFA in 1984. While at Bradley, Kaminski was encouraged to paint on a large scale and became interested in the work of the Abstract Expressionists. His involvement with these painters, including de Kooning, Klein, and Pollock deepened during his graduate study at the Parson's School of Design - Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, where he received his MFA in 1986.
While at Otis, Kaminski was influenced by Emerson Woefler, an Abstract Expressionist, who was on the faculty. He also developed an affinity for a range of artists including Robert Rauchenberg, for his use of found objects in his paintings, and Mark di Suvero, for his constructed sculptural forms. In the late 1980s, Kaminski made a seminal piece, Inside/Out, which featured wood forms projecting from a gesturally painted panel. In Los Angeles, Kaminski began showing his paintings, which featured vigorous paint handling and bold color.
In 1990, Kaminski and his wife moved to New York, wanting to be involved with the art scene there. While working in graphic design, he produced paintings and showed them in galleries in New York. His exhibition "New York Windows" featured paintings with actual windowpanes which held photographs of city buildings, surrounded by gestural evocations of architecture. A key painting from the time was Sons of Liberty, which used collaged images of gravestones from the Revolutionary War period, along with painted geometric forms.
In response to the Gulf War of 1991, Kaminski paintings reflected on the role of oil and culture in the conflict, employing architectural and geometric forms. These works anticipate the artist's impassioned response to the event of 9/11, an outpouring of work that went on for more than ten years. A central work is Man's Religions, a painting that questions how religion shapes ideological conflict. Other works touch on spirituality and human suffering, in direct depictions of the attack on the Twin Towers and in more abstract works. In recent paintings, the artist uses his graphic design sensibility to starkly represent a sense of risk and the opposition of worldviews. Other new paintings show a shift to recovery and remembrance.
Kaminski's paintings have been shown and collected globally.