WORDS / CALEB PATTON
When looking through the works Kevin Arnold has created, one can feel a sense of something lost, forgotten, and longing to return to what it was once. A barbeque in the wilds of the deep woods defaced by Porky’s panicked looks and mounds of saturated fats. A crisscrossed fence bearing bright reds and pinks, bringing forth images of homemade pies. A cascade of flowers raining down as Tinkerbell casts missiles across the page.
This native of Northwestern Arkansas, graduate of both the University of Arkansas and the Rhode Island School of Design, consciously creates vivid images that draw upon these distant feelings of longing. Kevin has been traveling around the globe for the last four years contributing his time to both regional and international communities with his art. In his upcoming exhibit at Fenix Fayetteville on August 2 from 5-9 p.m., he explores the rapidly evolving sense of national and cultural anxiety he has been exposed to during his travels.
He says, “We’re in a perpetual state of physical and mental malnutrition.” With the constant bombardment of Facebook status updates, tweets, and Instagram photos straining our already thin attention spans, it’s no wonder he feels this way. Though it might sound like your daily routine to check and see how the digital world is doing, this recognized condition known as “compassion fatigue” has become a major inspiration in Kevin’s work as he’s travelled the globe. Now more than ever, as the political, social, and environmental climates reach their climaxes, does Kevin’s work show the darker underbelly of the beast we’ve been feeding since the first ping of an email stretched across the cyberspace-way.
There’s something to be said about the way Kevin takes those pieces of a world almost forgotten and molds them into what they’ve now become on his canvas. “We strive to feel grounded in a world that, at times, feels unhinged…”, says Kevin, as he discusses how important our ‘tribes’ are to each of us. These paintings, though only a brief look into the harsh reality we’ve created, have helped in that grounding and have created the burning need to see the world become better than what we’ve made it to be.