Staff Show 2017: Kim Sandara

In this series, Manager of Visitor and Family Engagement Emily Bray highlights participants in the 2017 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show, on view through September 17, 2017.

Kim Sandra, “Around Again”

Kim Sandara

What do you do at The Phillips Collection?

I work at the Admissions desk. It’s interesting seeing how often we get international visitors, as well as people who live right down the street. There’s a wide range of folks who come in.

Who is your favorite artist in the collection?

My favorite artists in the collection are Georgia O’Keeffe, Van Gogh, and Rothko. I really enjoy their use of color and flow of line work.

What is your favorite space within The Phillips Collection?

The gallery with the Jacob Lawrence series is certainly an interesting one to go through. I love sequential work and the history being told is so significant.

What would you like people to know about your artwork on view in the 2017 Staff Show (or your work in general)?

My work is about the translation of sound to visuals. I listen to a wide range of music and work in a stream-of-consciousness manner. I used to state what songs I was listening to but no longer want to put the audience under that subjectivity. I find it much more satisfying to hear what people experience when looking at my work. I like to think of it like cloud watching, there are no wrong answers, just lots of room for imagination.

About the artist

Kim Sandara was born in Falls Church, Virginia, 1994. In 2016 she graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, obtaining a BFA in General Fine Arts with a concentration in Illustration and Book Arts . She likes to explore all types of creating and design. In her time at MICA, she has taken classes in print making, painting, graphic design, animation, and illustration. Her practice is inspired by surrealism, abstract expressionism, personal narrative, fantastic story telling and the graphic and bold visual tendencies of street art. She also enjoys staying up until 4am writing, engaging in spiritual conversations and jotting down realizations about life that spastically enter her mind only at night. Kim Sandara’s work naturally explores stream of consciousness and perceptions of inner psyche versus outer persona. All of her work has an interest in psychology, stream of consciousness and she enjoys working in a sequential manner.

The 2017 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show is on view August 3 through September 17, 2017.

Size Matters


Arthur G. Dove, Waterfall, 1925. Oil on hardboard, 10 x 8 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Acquired 1926

Would Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party have the same effect on its viewers if it didn’t take up nearly an entire wall at 51 x 69 inches? Conversely, would Jacob Lawrence’s panels from The Migration Series be so poignant if each were triple the size, Panel no. 1 measuring only 12 x 18 inches? In art, size matters. It can make a large piece overcome you. It can force you to inspect a smaller piece more intently than you might if it were just little bit bigger.

One of the smaller paintings and one of my favorites in The Phillips Collection is Arthur Dove’s Waterfall, measuring only 10 x 8 inches. This oil painting done on hardboard could escape you if you were walking through the galleries quickly, but it is a work worth a closer look. In a typical Dovian way, a style shared by other members of the Alfred Stieglitz circle including John Marin and Georgia O’Keeffe, a natural subject is abstracted in a way that does not immediately depict its title. But as the title indicates, it is a waterfall, a subject found in the nature around us that, when you think about it, does not really have a typical look to it. Not all waterfalls look the same, and Dove is aware of this phenomenon. Dark grey blues swirl into beige washes with highlights of white put carefully on top. The surface is loaded with painterly texture and monochromatic gradients. What the painting captures is a moment in time, the moment you forget what you’re looking at and see only the colors and shapes that make up the nature in front of you.

If we could only ask Dove, why so small? Why is it that the artist chose to depict such a grandiose subject in such a small window? Perhaps it is precisely for this irony. It is at once artful and emotional to represent a subject that takes up so much space in the world around us and impose it onto a surface that only takes up a fraction of a gallery wall. The unique smallness of Waterfall is what drew me to the piece in the first place, intrigued by its placement amongst larger O’Keeffe and Marin works that I could spot from the gallery next door. When I took the time to really look at the painting, it instantly became one of my favorites, and that was because of its size. So size in art really does matter, and sometimes, smaller is better.

Annie Dolan, Marketing and Communications Intern