I am an artist in Denver, Colorado. My current work is based on observation of the local natural surroundings. Here are some words about my recent work:

What Came First is a group of six acrylic and oil paintings on canvas based on the sight of an egg left out on our kitchen countertop. Against the blackness of the speckled granite the egg looked like a moon in outer space! Depth, scale, silence, potential energy — it had it all. But when I attempted to paint this still life straight-up, Smithson came swimming back into my mental space and the paintings veered off course into Deep Time (google it): an oblate spheroid, our evolutionary egg in "space" with moisture building, proteins folding, beings emerging; etched in the rocks, embedded in space-time, breaking the plane.

Seven Views of Bear Peak is a group of medium-large watercolor paintings on paper. Bear Peak is a prominent mountain in nearby Boulder. I’m interested in how flat and complicated the mountain looks. The sense of a dramatic, near-vertical plane looming over town is an optical effect, for the mountain, like most mountains, has a great deal of dimension and depth in its various rocky outcrops and forested aspects. Long story short this all seems to scale well with my dabby watercolor mark-making. These paintings were made in three locations: from the front seat of a car on a gravel shoulder off South Cherryvale Road; from a gravel lot on the west side of CO-93 south of Eldorado Canyon, also in the front seat; and from a picnic table at Walker Ranch, facing back east.

I invite you to follow me on Instagram @chriskannen.

Thanks for visiting!


Name *


born 1977 in Cleveland, OH

based in Denver, CO


  • MFA, Hunter College, New York, NY, 2001

  • BFA, University of Dayton, Dayton, OH, 1999


  • Antarctic Artist and Writer Award, U.S. National Science Foundation, 2008

  • Artist In Residence, Samband Islenskra Myndlistarmanna, Reykjavik, Iceland, 2004

  • Graf Travel Grant, Hunter College Art Department, 2001


  • New Artwork from Antarctica, Studio D Gallery, University of Dayton, OH, 2008

  • After the Arctic, PH Gallery, New York, NY, 2005

  • Christopher Kannen, B. Deemer Gallery, Louisville, KY, 2000


  • Journeys: Travel Photography, Black Box Gallery, Portland, OR (juried by artist Ethan Jackson) (catalogue), 2013

  • screening, H20 Film on Water, Emory University Visual Arts Building, Atlanta, GA, 2012

  • H2O Film on Water, Newport Mill, Newport, NH (juried by Denise Markonish, curator, MassMOCA, North Adams, MA), 2012

  • Topos, Maynard Art Center, Maynard, MA, 2009

  • Sasquatch Society, Sixtyseven Gallery, New York, NY, 2005

  • Chris Kannen, Eric Torborg, PH Gallery, New York, NY, 2004

  • Sojourn, PH Gallery, New York, NY, 2003

  • Carefully Drawn, Storefront 1838, New York, NY, 2002

  • Alumni Exhibition, Rike Center Gallery, Dayton, OH, 2001


  • Art Department, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 2013

  • Art and Environment program, School of Art and Design, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, 2012

  • Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill, MA, 2009

  • West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, 2009

  • Department of Visual Arts, University of Dayton, Dayton, OH, 2008

  • public interview, “Where Have You Been? with Jeff Stark,” Bluestockings Books, New York, NY, 2008

  • artist talk, Robert Gober studio, New York, NY, 2008

  • artist talk, Design Trust for Public Space, New York, NY, 2008

  • artist talk, Sunday Science Lecture Series, McMurdo Station, Antarctica, 2008


  • “Whatever Moves or Makes Noise,” ARID Journal, Spring/Summer 2013, Volume 2, Issue 1.

  • Artist Blog, “Parhelion Pemmican Pack Ice Pancake”, December 19, 2007—April 1, 2009.


  • Alan Taylor, “Recent Scenes from Antarctica”, In Focus, The Atlantic, March 4, 2011.

  • Ransom Riggs, “Vacation to Mars: Antarctica’s Dry Valleys”, mental_floss, February 3, 2010.

  • James Wagner, “Sasquatch Society at Sixtyseven,” jameswagner.com, August 28, 2005, 7:05 PM.

  • Ken Johnson, “Art Guide,” The New York Times, September 12, 19, 2003.

Is this Russia?

Is this Russia?