Thursday, September 5, 2013

Kenneth Steinbach - Drawing and Sculpture

Kenneth Steinbach
The Machine in the Ghost. Installation view.  2010-2013  Unique carved and polychromed wood, about 2600 individual elements.  Wood for the work was stolen from the grounds of the museum of the childhood home of Charles Lindbergh in Little Falls, Minnesota.

Name:  Kenneth Steinbach  
City/State:  Shoreview, MN

Bio~Kenneth Steinbach is an artist who uses a variety of media and approaches, but works principally in sculpture.  Recent exhibits include The New Forests of Thoreau’s America at the College of Visual Arts in St. Paul, and Still There at the Gallery at Fox Tax in Minneapolis.  He has shown throughout the United States, including exhibits at the Phillip Slein Gallery in St. Louis, and Koplin Del Rio Gallery in Los Angeles, and Circa Gallery in Minneapolis who has represented his work for the past seven years.  He has work in numerous corporate, academic, and individual collections including Midway Contemporary Art in Minneapolis, and NYCAMS in New York. Kenneth Steinbach is the recipient of two Minnesota State Arts Board grants and two grants from Bethel University in direct support of his work and research.  He is Professor of Art in Sculpture at Bethel University in St. Paul, and a member of Form + Content Gallery. 

Kenneth is currently working on a body of research investigating the cognitive and creative habits of mid career artists.  He lives in Shoreview with his wife Kari, and daughter Harper Leigh, and two impossibly enthusiastic wiener dogs.

The Machine in the Ghost.  Detail view.

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?
I am continuing a series of drawings and sculptural works that explore the shifting of narratives and memories attached to materials, objects and locations.  Many of those works use materials/objects with very loaded histories- wood taken from the grounds of the Lindbergh House in Little Falls, Minnesota for example, or slate chalkboards from an abandoned schoolhouse.  I am also continuing a 10 year series of works using epoxy resin, in which dozens of ink drawings are suspended in layers of epoxy resin.  For the first time I am using the figure in the resin works, and engaging ideas related to geography and exploration. The upcoming show at Circa Gallery will feature these drawings, as well as multiple sculptural works using slate, drawings on ivory piano keys, and slate from an abandoned middle school. 

How did you decide to become an artist?
When I started studying art in college I realized that I responded to the physicality of making work.  The resistance of the materials allowed me to focus on specific themes and concerns for a longer time and allowed for an expressive gravitas that other art forms did not.  I have never really considered doing anything else.

For Pierre Menard, Author of the Don Quixote.  
Found and carved wood.  Dimensions variable.  2010.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist? 
Try everything.  Which, interestingly, is the same advice that you might give someone if you were trying to drive them crazy.

Many artists struggle to find ways to sell their art.  How do you sell your work?  How do you market yourself?
I am represented by Circa Gallery in Minneapolis and also belong to Form + Content Gallery, a cooperative gallery, in Minneapolis.
My website:

Untitled (Lindbergh House #6).  
Ink drawings suspended in layers of epoxy resin.  30” x 60” x 1.5”

Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy?
The writing of Louise Erdrich (, Kent Meyers (, and Tim O’Brien (  Also Annie Proulx, who is not from Minnesota but should be.
Aesthetic Apparatus:
Lex Thompson:
Megan Vossler:
Michael Kareken:
Jennifer Danos:

If I were to follow you around to see art in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?
Assuming that I could bend time and space, we would spend the day hitting all the small town museums across the state.  They hold such fantastic assortments of art, history, artifacts, local oddities, civic records, donated collections.  All of it cheek by jowl in a completely unfiltered way, with terrific interactions and cross references.  Some of the most engaging exhibits around, with enthusiastic staffs- many of whom volunteer just for the love of the museum.

Memoria Animus:  Granville Falls.  8” x 13.25”.  
Scrimshaw on used elephant ivory piano keys. 2010/2013.

In addition to, where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise? 
I generally find more artists off the grid, by attending openings, exhibits, and talking with other artists.  MNartists ( is also a main point of reference, a terrific resource.

Do you have any exhibits to promote in the near future? 
I have a solo exhibit at Circa gallery in Minneapolis opening Sept 21st, 2013.
I am also curating a show titled Orders of Possibility with Paula McCartney, Lex Thompson, and Sonja Thomsen at Form + Content Gallery, opening in early December.

Untitled (Lamb’s Ear #2).  Waterjet cut chalkboard slate.  42” x 72”.  2012.

What can we expect to see from you in the future? 
As part of an academic research project, I am currently interviewing a large collection of mid career visual artists to determine the suite of creative habits and activities that are engaged by high functioning artists. At some point I hope to present my findings to the creative community in Minnesota in a series of dialogues or workshops.

Kenneth Steinbach

Circa Gallery - Featured Artist

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