Margaret Kennedy | Fields of Color

Fields of Color features seventeen large-scale abstract paintings by the artist Margaret Kennedy for Eerdmans.

With an approach to color and composition that recalls twentieth century masters from Helen Frankenthaler and Kenzo Okada to Richard Diebenkorn and Mark Rothko, Kennedy (1941–) exuberantly explores relationships between colors and shapes in the series, both within each painting and across them. Many of the oil-on-canvas works include aluminum leaf—here as additional "fields," there as hieroglyphic-like markings that imbue the placid expanses with movement and electricity, echoing the free-form freneticism of Cy Twombly and Jean-Michel Basquiat.


September 01 - 24, 2021


+1 212 920 1393

Pool for David Hockney, 2017, Oil and Aluminum Leaf on Canvas, 60" x 48"

Each piece begins with a color and develops through the relationship of one color to another. Most often I keep adding colors and shapes and it gets over-complicated. Then I simplify, but without totally obliterating what came before, with evidence of underpainting in the layers of the finished work.”

— Margaret Kennedy

Fields of Color is a decade in the making, with its genesis in 2011, when Kennedy procured a studio space in Harlem that would accommodate large-format work. Most paintings in the exhibition (some are as big as 60 inches by 72 inches) were created there, though the most recent were made during the pandemic at Kennedy's studio near her home in Westport, MA.

Kennedy is known both for her plein-air landscapes and the kind of abstract work seen in Fields of Color. While the abstracts are not directly based on landscapes, they often have the feeling of such—"perhaps due to the light and air I try to capture through color," she says.

Kennedy graduated from Clark University in Worcester, MA, majoring in art, with studio classes conducted at the School of the Worcester Art Museum. She then studied at the Art Students League of New York and the National Academy Museum & School of Fine Art (now the National Academy of Design). Her work has been exhibited and won prizes in group shows in New York City; Battenville, NY; Little Compton, RI; and Westport, MA.
In addition to her artistic achievements, Kennedy led a highly successful career in interior-design magazine publishing, having served as design editor at House & Garden and, for 19 years, as editor of House Beautiful. Her background at the intersection of art and design makes her a natural fit to exhibit at Eerdmans; pieces from Fields of Color can be seen in Veranda Magazine's feature on Eerdmans in its September-October 2021 issue. While Kennedy doesn't picture her paintings in situ while creating them, she says, "I love the way a big abstract painting jolts a traditional room into the present."

The Paintings