Kilcullen in her 120 year old converted barn studio in her backyard, 2018
Angie Meche Kilcullen is a mixed media painter currently residing just outside of Washington DC. However, growing up in southwest Louisiana~in the heart of Cajun-Country~provided her with an abundance of exciting visual, musical and social stimulations that still influence her art, design and lifestyle choices today. As a young girl, her mother saw artistic potential in her and always encouraged her to pursue her passions. She started taking art lessons while very young and, for as long as she can remember, it's been the only "career/lifestyle" that she envisioned for herself. Kilcullen has also lived in Canada, Tokyo and Paris. She received her MFA in painting from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Kilcullen works out of her 120 year old converted barn studio, where she also offers art instruction. She resides with her husband, 4 children and 2 dogs.
Primarily a figurative painter, I center my work on explorations of humble individuals. I depict subjects with a specifically gripping emotional or psychological presence; impoverished social status; or an experience with oppression of some kind. Over the years I have painted the poor, homeless, enslaved, and imprisoned; a current series explores the imagined psychological state of China’s Forbidden City concubines. I choose to portray all of these individuals because of their inner strength, wisdom and power of endurance.
My work is mainly painted surface with a rich mix of multi-media, often including old jewelry or jewelry pieces, vintage fabric and photographs, yarn, gold leafing, and other ornate items. For me, these embellishments invoke the nostalgia of a childhood blessed by two dynamic grandmothers: both who came of age during the Great Depression; but while one was ingenious about recycling and repurposing and saw value in almost everything, the other loved costume jewelry, flashy clothing and fabrics of all kinds, and freely allowed my sister and me unlimited access to these “treasures.”
The often lavishly decorative backgrounds in my paintings serve two main purposes. One is a nod to my childhood memories and another, to my intention to convey messages of glorification through one’s own struggles, labors and losses that eventually lead to triumph, hope and transformation. The various elements of my work combine to raise up and give homage to the forgotten, the misunderstood, and the misrepresented.