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In conversation: Anne Krinsky

In this interview, join us as we journey through the expansive artistic landscape of Anne Krinsky, a London-based visionary whose creative endeavors traverse continents and disciplines. Discover the intricate tapestry of her practice, interweaving paint, print, photography, and video, as she explores the nuanced intersections of environment, architecture, and societal narratives. From her captivating solo exhibitions across the United States to her immersive projects along the Thames River and beyond, Krinsky invites us to ponder the complexities of our world, from vulnerable wetlands to urban river corridors.

Joana Alarcão
3 de abril de 2024
Can you start by giving us an overview of your practice and what steps you took to become the artist you are today?

I combine practices of painting, print, photography and projection with archival and geographical research, to investigate overlooked structures in natural and man-made environments. I am fascinated by the passage of time and the ephemeral nature of the physical world. Architecture and geometry also inspire me, and my work navigates between the fleeting and the fixed. 


Curiousity has anchored my work in the studio. I trained as a printmaker but found I was more interested in exploring variations on a theme than in producing multiples. I didn’t become a printmaker in any traditional sense, but layering – of ideas, images and media – still lies at the heart of my process. Through strategies of overlay, erasure and reconfiguration, I build and remove colour and pattern, making work that slowly reveals itself.  


After moving to the UK from the US in 2012, I broadened my practice, exploring new imagery and subject matter and learning some digital skills. This enabled me to gain funding for several of my research-based projects from Arts Council England and a-n The Artists Information Company.


My parents ran a bookstore where I worked as a teenager. Looking back, this shaped an interest in archives, which I often use as a point of departure to develop new work. I might respond to an existing collection such as the Women’s Art Library at Goldsmiths University of London – or use the photographic and video documentation I gather in a fragile wetland – as raw material to generate work in other media, including site-responsive print and video installations in public spaces.



Image by Anne Krinsky.
Wetlands Sandwich by Anne Krinsky. Image courtesy of Anne Krinsky.

Your artistic practice encompasses a variety of mediums, including painting, print, photography, and video. How do you navigate the intersection of these mediums within your work, and what draws you to utilize such a diverse range of artistic tools?

I have always been interested in juxtaposing diverse images and getting them to co-exist within the same space – a marriage of opposites. Combining digital and analogue media springs from a similar impulse. I still love and work with the tactile surface, but digital tools allow for different possibilities. With digital print, I can incorporate scanned materials and photographic imagery to create large-scale installations. And spending time watching the movement of water lends itself to video.


Your artist statement mentions a fascination with overlooked structures in natural and man-made environments, as well as the passage of time and the ephemeral nature of the physical world. Could you elaborate on how these themes inform and inspire your creative process?

Close observations in nature have given me an appreciation of the ephemeral moment, now accelerated by the signs of climate change. There’s an expression in Maine, where I spent a lot of time when I was younger: “If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute.”


When I moved to London from New England, I was struck by the layers of history, both visible and obscured, embedded in the British landscape. This resonated with my interest in the layered surface and I began to make paintings that I built up over time and sanded down to reveal what lay beneath. Living and working near the Thames in Southeast London, I also became fascinated by the historical maritime and industrial architecture – river walls, docks, ramps, piers, stairs and mooring structures – that were covered up by water every day. This led to my Tide Line Thames project which investigated the river and its architecture between high and low tide lines. 


Cultural and intellectual artefacts, as well as physical objects, can be overlooked. I worked with the Women’s Art Library on my first project with a UK archive. Started in the late 1970's as an artist-led initiative to enhance knowledge of the practice and achievement of women in the visual arts, it is now housed at Goldsmiths University of London. Rummaging in the archive, I learned about the work of British women artists, many under-represented. In 2015, I created From Absorb to Zoom – An Alphabet of Actions in the Women's Art Library, a digital print installation that incorporated scanned print materials from the collection.



Image of an instalations by Anne Krinsky.
Installation View of Wetlands Shifting Shorelines, Worthing Seafront by Anne Krinsky. Image courtesy of Anne Krinsky.

You have an international project focusing on vulnerable wetlands and climate change. Can you discuss the origins of this project and how your experiences documenting wetlands across various locations have shaped your artistic perspective and advocacy efforts?

My focus on wetlands stemmed from my Tide Line Thames project. As I observed the power of the tidal river to erode fixed structures, I thought about risks to coastal communities and intertidal habitats from rising seas and climate change. During a 2018 Residency with METAL in Southend-on-Sea, I photographed wetlands and industrial infrastructure in the Thames Estuary, shaped and scarred by maritime, industrial and military interventions for centuries. The oil and gas, shipping and waste disposal industries continue to impact the Estuary and I found myself in the ambivalent position of being attracted to residual industrial structures for their visual and formal qualities, while recognizing the environmental damage these industries cause. 


Since then, I have worked on a project about vulnerable wetlands and climate change in a range of inland and coastal waterways. I am interested in recording both the beauty of – and human impacts on – fragile habitats. I have collected imagery in coastal wetlands on the South Coast of England; on the River Naab in Bavaria; the Dutch North Sea island Terschelling; the Los Angeles River Corridor; and Long Beach Peninsula in Washington State. 


Coastal wetlands often are squeezed between the sea and impermeable pavements in the built environment. With no place to expand inland when sea levels rise, they, and the plant and animals they support, will vanish. In wetlands on England’s South Coast, I saw an overgrowth of algae caused by agricultural runoff and by the dumping of raw sewage by under-regulated UK water companies. In southern California, I visited slivers of wetlands in the shadow of freeways and coastal lagoons ringed by oil derricks. 


I use my documentation as a starting point to create print and video installations in public spaces that respond creatively to wetlands and watersheds and raise public awareness of climate threats. I want to share my passion for these fragile and beautiful coastal habitats, threatened by rising sea levels, development and pollution. I also have used my projects to highlight the work of biologists and conservationists working in ‘restoration ecology’.



Image of an instalation of Anne Krinsky.
Installation View of Wetlands Shifting Shorelines, Worthing Seafront by Anne Krinsky. Image courtesy of Anne Krinsky.

Could you share some insights into your "Tide Line Thames" project and its evolution into your current focus on fragile wetlands? How did your observations of the Thames River inform your exploration of coastal communities and intertidal habitats at risk from climate change?

Living and working near the Thames in Southeast London, led me to investigate the river and its architecture between high and low tide lines for consecutive Totally Thames Festivals. The project culminated in 2017 with a video collaboration with Tom Pearman in the Brunel Museum’s Thames Tunnel Shaft and with Tropical Thames, my digital print installation in Crossrail Place Roof Garden, commissioned by Canary Wharf Arts. 


In many London locations, the Thames is within a metre of sidewalks, streets and buildings and in high tides walkways and buildings do flood. Watching the river’s powerful tides led me to think about coastal communities and intertidal habitats vulnerable to climate change-induced sea-level rise. In turn, this led to my work on vulnerable wetlands. Since 2018, I have documented wetlands in a range of inland and coastal waterways. 


In 2021-22 I created a project about wetlands on the South Coast of England, resulting in tandem exhibitions in Worthing, England. Inspired by wetlands I photographed during the pandemic, Wetlands Shifting Shorelines was an outdoor print exhibition on the Seafront Promenade, while Fugitive was on view at the Worthing Museum and Art Gallery. The seafront exhibition included information panels highlighting the work of groups working to protect and restore habitat and I invited marine biologists to give talks at the Museum. 


Image of an exhbition by Anne Krinsky.
Ephemeral Scolls 6 of 10 in St. Augustine's Tower by Anne Krinsky. Image courtesy of Anne Krinsky.

What can you tell us about the exhibition Reading Stones: Anne Krinsky, Carol Wyss, and Susan Eyre? What inspired the series The Ephemera Scrolls, a set of 10 printed scrolls shown at the exhibition?

In 2019, I created The Ephemera Scrolls, in St. Augustine’s Tower Hackney for the show, Reading Stones: Anne Krinsky I Carol Wyss I Susan Eyre. We each made works that explored relationships between time and materiality, in response to the history and architecture of this 13th century clocktower.


During a residency at Oberpfälzer Künstlerhaus in Bavaria earlier that year, I had photographed the inland River Naab during a searing June heatwave. River levels dropped dramatically, exposing tree roots and spawning algae islands. I worked with my Naab photographs – and others of the Tower’s clock mechanism and of stones in the surrounding churchyard – to create a set of 10 digitally-printed scrolls for the Tower’s first floor, that reflected on the fragility of ecosystems and climate change. 


Your involvement in various residencies and grants has allowed you to expand your research and artistic practice globally. How have these experiences enriched your understanding of environmental issues and shaped your role as an artist committed to ecological advocacy?

Wetlands are overlooked and undervalued habitats with unique biodiversities. I’ve learned about the variety of life they support, their importance in filtering and cleaning watersheds, retaining and slowing the movement of groundwater and reducing flooding and drought. 


My research gives me an excuse to spend time looking and listening at the remnants of still-beautiful watery terrains. In making work that celebrates the beauty of wetlands, I fear that the word elegy may be appropriate. But I find inspiration in the work of other artists, community groups, scientists and landscape architects working to protect and restore habitats. 


Image of a print made by Anne Krinsky of a sea enviroment
Wetlands Shifting Shorelines, Sea Kale by Anne Krinsky. Image courtesy of Anne Krinsky.
You're currently co-curating an exhibition titled "Life Boat," exploring precarity as a site of dynamic transition. How does this theme resonate with your artistic journey, and what do you hope audiences will take away from this exhibition?

Life Boat at APT Gallery in London brings together eight artists responding to the uncertainties of ecological and social change and shifting landscapes from both local and global perspectives. We each take an investigative approach to the environmental, social and historical themes evoked by the lifeboat, as a means of addressing ecological crisis, liminal landscapes, close and distant horizons, boundaries and displacement, lines of rescue, navigation and transformation. The exhibiting artists are Rachael Allain, Caroline AreskogJones, Beverley Duckworth, Liz Elton, Kathleen Herbert, Kaori Homma and Anne Krinsky.


In tackling concepts of the perilous, the vulnerable and the lost, we hope to raise the alarm on the passive position of waiting for rescue and encourage audiences to engage with the climate crisis. 


In what ways do you hope your artwork contributes to conversations about social and environmental justice and awareness?

Along with making work inspired by the beauty of wetlands, I have used my wetlands projects to program public conversations with marine biologists, conservationists and community groups working to protect and restore habitat. I hope these cross-disciplinary collaborations will expand audiences for both art and environmental engagement. 



Image of a print made by Anne Krinsky
Pink Turbulence by Anne Krinsky. Image courtesy of Anne Krinsky.

What message or call to action would you like to leave our readers with?

As an artist and a human, I spend a lot of time looking at what is around me. It’s hard to ignore the tragedy of what is happening to the planet. I want to bring attention to the beauty and value of wetlands before they vanish. 


Know more about the artist here.


Cover image:

Wetlands Shifting Shorelines ,Erosion by Anne Krinsky. Image courtesy of Anne Krinsky.

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Anne Krinsky is a London-based artist, born in the US. She works with paint, print, photography and video. Her US solo shows include The Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, Massachusetts; Andrea Marquit Fine Arts, Boston; Soprafina Gallery, Boston; and her 10-year retrospective at the Trustman Gallery at Simmons College, Boston. She has made installations in response to archived collections in the US, UK and India. She exhibited her first project with a UK archive, From Absorb to Zoom: An Alphabet of Actions in the Women’s Art Library, at Goldsmiths University of London in 2015.


Anne Krinsky’s Tide Line Thames project investigated the river and its architecture between high and low tide lines in 2016 and 2017, as part of London’s Totally Thames festivals. The project culminated with a video collaboration with Tom Pearman in the Brunel Museum’s Thames Tunnel Shaft and with Tropical Thames, her digital print installation in Crossrail Place Roof Garden, commissioned by Canary Wharf Arts.


She has been working on an international project about vulnerable wetlands and climate change since 2018, when she documented Thames Estuary wetlands during a Time and Space Residency with METAL in Southend. Her 2020 research in South Coast wetlands in England led to overlapping shows in Worthing, England in 2021 and 2022 – outdoors on the Seafront Promenade and at the Worthing Museum and Art Gallery. In 2022 she was a Visiting Artist-in-Residence at 18th Street Art Center in Santa Monica, where her focus turned to the Los Angeles River Corridor. In 2023, she documented wetlands in Oysterville, Washington State, in residency at Willapa Bay AiR.


Anne Krinsky is the recipient of multiple grants, including an Artists International Development Fund Grant, Arts Council England Developing Your Creative Practice Grant, two Artist Bursaries from a-n The Artists Information Company, and two Arts Council England Grants for the Arts. The British Museum, Boston Public Library, American collector Graham Gund and Paintings in Hospitals England, have purchased her works, as have numerous corporate and private collectors on both sides of the Atlantic.


Additional residencies include Fundacion Valparaiso, Mojacar, Spain; Millay Colony for the Arts, Austerlitz, NY; Sanskriti Foundation, Delhi, India; Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Amherst, VA; the Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT; Oberpfälzer Künstlerhaus, Schwandorf, Germany.

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