Arden Kraatz

Artist Statement

My work examines power dynamics in intimate relationships, specifically how micro gestures and aggressions stem from an ingrained patriarchal framework that influences familial and romantic interactions. Through portraiture and the inclusion of the viewer, I explore concepts of play, consent, submission, care and disrespect. My work is primarily painting and drawing with elements of relief sculpture and installation principles that create an immersive space and role for the viewer. I use the depiction of hands to manipulate perspective in order to force an observer of the piece into the role of the aggressor. I’m interested in the power and control behind a gesture and how we navigate spaces of touch and consent as instigators and receivers.


With layering and textiles, I expand my paintings directly onto the wall and into space. I see the rectangle of the canvas as a representation of containment and the establishment. I strive to rebel against the frame and create hybrid paintings/sculptures that extend into the viewer’s space. I use a chromatic palette and neon grounds to create a lush visual experience in which color represents duality and importance, and often hints at a sense of unease underlying the piece. In regards to the figurative aspects in my work, formal rendering alongside abstract elements reference the combination of rigid social structure and complex emotion that influence interactions between loved ones. 


My art is a reflection and a manifestation of fleeting moments that harm, that show disrespect but that can also be moments of care and comfort. It is an exploration of interrelations, family, power and the effect of larger cultural frameworks that both deepen and restrain personal connections.

Artist Bio

Arden Kraatz is a New York based artist currently working and residing in Brooklyn. They were born in 1996 in Fort Worth, Texas. They received a BFA in Drawing and Painting with a concentration in photography from the University of North Texas. They completed a summer residency at the The New York Academy of Art and is currently completing a MFA in Fine Arts at Parsons School of Design.