Mya Kerner

About Mya Kerner, Seattle Artist

Mya Kerner was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. After completing her BFA in Interdisciplinary Sculpture and Environmental Design at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MA, Mya traveled internationally, participating as a visiting artist, making connections, and forming a personal mythology. In 2013, she was awarded a yearlong residency at Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, AL. There, among the industrial decay, Mya's compiled writings hinted at a desire to build her own reality. Now settled in Seattle, WA, Mya actively continues her art practice alongside her garden design business, working to entwine the studio, garden, and home. 



Photo by Sebastian Cvitanic


Originally from Philadelphia, PA, Mya Kerner completed her BFA in Interdisciplinary Sculpture and Environmental Design at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD in 2011. Since then, Mya has worked as an artist in residence nationally at Sculpture Trails Outdoor Museum in Solsberry, Indiana and Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, Alabama, and internationally as a visiting artist at Akademia Sztuk Pięknych in Gdańsk, Poland. She has shown her work in England, Canada, Poland, Latvia, and, here, in the United States. In 2016, Mya completed a Certificate in Holistic Landscape Design at Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA. Working out of her Seattle studio, Mya continues her art practice full time, partnering with designers across North America. 

Artist Statement

I think about the individual in the context of the mountains and their immensity. As we have continued our supposed domination over Nature, removing ourselves and regarding Nature as resource rather than Source, we have forgotten these concepts are constructs, built through the deconstruction of mythology. The mountains remain, while our perception shifts, like atmospheric effects, obscuring, then revealing, in erratic flow. In my work, I attempt to depict a tragic joy, a recalling of the Sublime.

My studies in permaculture influence my art practice. I regard the mountains as stoic icons reflected by mortality, records of the movements of the earth and the torrents of the sky. They represent a collision or maybe a collaboration of the elements and the forces of life. Though continuously rising or falling, the mountains stand, silent, weighing on the shifting fragments of the earth, moving at an incomprehensible rate.

I depict geological disruptions, carved moments and parts within the landscape. Records of denudation captivate me, as these notes present a segmented image of the whole. The mountaintops stand crisp against a stark white, reaching for an infinite sky. Descending are scratched lines, which break through the slopes, while flecks of white dapple on eroded surfaces, recalling cooler seasons. Light moves across planes, marking time with stretched and shortened shadows.

Recording these moments by drawing and writing, I return to the studio to paint in attempt to capture this vulnerability. Often, my finished pieces linger on the threshold of completion, for what memory is complete upon its conception? Form denotes the flow of water through rocky slopes, and the image often disintegrates as it nears the base of the painting, referencing the deposition of mountain and mythos. 

Material exploration is an important part of my practice. My foundation in sculpture has heavily influenced the way I approach oil paint as a material; I manipulate in a way more like sculpting than brushing. By combining paint and graphite on birch panel, which accepts both forceful and gentle application without distortion, I explore a language of texture in a satisfying range of marks. 

In these works, I wonder what memories the mountains hold, and what indefinable futures are foretold on our deaf ears. We have redefined the individual as the ultimate; however, the threats of a changing climate are reawakening our terror of the Sublime. In this loss of control we fear the loss of cities, of homes - human constructs within the false façade of permanence. We are now reminded that, to Nature, the individual is irrelevant, lost to the vastness and susceptible to the ephemerality of being. 

My concern for humanity's precarious relationship with nature drives my romantic exploration of the intricacies of terrain. I seek the potential for understanding and balance through material studies and, eventually, the reformation of a contemporary mythology.