Heat and gravity are essential to Kelly Wagner Steinke's work. She uses a torch as a markmaking tool, creating textures that reflect the topography native to her home in Texas. Working with heat and fire means giving up a measure of control, and Kelly is drawn to that element of surprise and spontaneous. Using natural materials like beeswax, tree resin, pigments, and found objects, Kelly's work imagines what may be happening inside a tree or plant, or under a rock. The final pieces evoke ideas of paradox, such as vulnerability and strength, life and death, order and chaos, and matter and spirit.
Kelly Wagner Steinke earned her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as two MA degrees from the University of Houston-Clear Lake City and the University of Texas-Austin. She has exhibited her work nationally in IN, NY, TX, NM, CA and more, and internationally in Italy and England. She has received several honors and awards, including a residency grant for the Vermont Studio Center.