University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Art Department

Kenneth A. Kerslake

About Kenneth A. Kerslake

By Michael Ehlbeck, Professor of Art, East Carolina University

It has long been my belief a true artist and their artwork grow to become so closely connected that the two become indivisible. The artwork survives as a direct connection to the life and the soul of the artist. There is no way the work of a true artist can be anything less than the truth. I have never thought of Ken Kerslake as anything but... read more.

Currents in the Stream

By Kenneth A. Kerslake

All art is a autobiographical. It finds its source within the life of the artist; currents in the stream that spring from the ground at birth, continue through life and disappear from our consciousness at the end. The currents in the stream are the powerful forces of life that carry us along, through swift emotional currents, quiet eddies of peace and contemplation and unexpected tides that arise from seemingly mysterious sources at the edge between inner dream and outer reality and catch us unawares.

It is this edge between the solid and the elusive, between the internal life of the spirit and the external coping with the world, where one is always on a transparent ground that interests me mostly. This idea can be seen in the very intimate glimpses into my backyard patio where the
solid chairs, understudy for their users, vie for attention with the elusive transient shadows that they create, to my most recent work where figures move in undetermined spaces.

The late works have centered on the metaphorical possibilities of a tourist or voyager theme; a theme which I visited earlier in another form. In these pieces the human figure is seen either isolated from their environment or in an ambiguous space. They are in fact figures searching for a connection, a sense of place, meaning and valid experience. The source for these works are snapshots taken on various trips over time.

I rarely include words in my prints but did include the following in a vitreograph titled, “A Tourist’s Journal” made in 1993 which I think defines the core of these works.

Scraps of photos showing tourists scurrying to and fro -- searching for excitement and authentic experience -- wondering where they are and why. Perhaps we are all tourists wandering the planet in searching for ourselves.

In the final analysis, whatever means are used, I think the prime responsibility of the artist is to transform the ordinary, to endow it with emotional and visual content - to create an image capable of touching other minds and hearts.


Kenneth A. Kerslake
Receding Shadows of Our ConversationSiligraph17.75 x 12.75"
The Journal: Filtered MemoriesSiligraph, digital transfer24 x 18"
A Gap in Our ConversationSiligraph, digital transfer24 x 18"
Time LineSiligraph, digital transfer24 x 18"
The Last of the LightSiligraph, digital transfer24 x 18"
Digital MirrorSiligraph, digital transfer24 x 18"
A Corner for MusingIntaglio16.5 x 23.5"
A Circle of LightIntaglio35.5 x 23.75"
Morning Mist on the Mountain (remake from 1990's)Etching, engraving31.75 x 20.75"
Sunlight BluesVitreograph24 x 15"
Sarah's GardenIntaglio, lithograph23.25 x 31.5"
Man in the MiddleLithograph, intaglio, digital transfer10 x 21"
The Trapped PsycheLithograph, digital transfer10 x 21"
The Unrelenting ClockPhoto etching, digital transfer20 x 16"
Unique ProofIntaglio with ink jet, china cola8 x 6"
The Magic House: Reverie (2nd Edition)Photo-intalgio, digital transfer9 x 12"
A Quantum ChemistPhoto-intalgio, digital transfer20 x 16"
Measure of TimePhoto-intalgio, digital transfer12 x 9.75"
The ImmigrantsWaterless siligraph, digital transfer24 x 29.5"
Fragments of a MemoryPhoto etching20 x 16"

Biography: Kenneth A. Kerslake

Kenneth A. KerslakeBorn in Mount Vernon, New York, Kenneth A. Kerslake’s, 1930-2007, achievements span a life-long career in the arts. A graduate of the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York, Kerslake’s artistic career began at the University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois, and culminated as Artist and Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus and Founder of the Printmaking Program at the University of Florida, Department of Art. Numerous competitive, invitational, and solo print exhibitions have included his work in intaglio, photo-etching, vitreograph, drawing, and painting.

Public collections of Kerslake’s work include The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York; The Library of Congress and The National Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut; The High Museum, Atlanta, Georgia; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts; SECCA, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Krannert Gallery of Art, University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois; The Cummer Museum of Art, Jacksonville, Florida; Gilkey Center for the Graphic Arts, The Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon; Johnson Wax Collection, Racine, Wisconsin; and the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington. The State House of Representatives and the Marjorie Stoneman Building in Tallahassee, Florida; the Art in Public Places collection, in Honolulu, Hawaii; and the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, at the University of Florida display a permanent collection of Kerslake's work.

In 1996, the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art presented a major retrospective exhibition of Kerslake’s work at the University of Florida, and included over 200 works and studies from the years 1955 to 1990.

Upon joining the University of Florida faculty in 1958, Kerslake initiated and then founded its Printmaking Program. Since then, he served as artist-in-residence, lecturer, and juror at many universities and art centers throughout the country, including the University of Alaska, Fairbanks; the University of Wisconsin-Madison; the University of Illinois, Champaign; and the University of Texas-Austin. A series of workshops and lectures was presented at the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa (1996) and East Carolina University (1997). In addition, he taught at Penland School, Penland, North Carolina; the Arrowmont Schools of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinbur, Tennessee; and the University of Georgia’s Summer Study Abroad Program in Cortona, Italy.

Honors and awards include The Joseph Pennell Fund Selection Committee Purchase Award, Library of Congress, Washington, DC; Associate American Artists Edition Award, AAA Gallery, NYC; Best of Show Award, “Intag One,” University of California at Northridge; Nettie Marie Jones Fellowship; Teacher of the Year for the College of Fine Arts, 1986-87, and Teacher Implementation Program Award, 1993, University of Florida.

The Kenneth Kerslake Memorial Fund for Student Subscriptions (Ken’s Fund)

In honor of Ken Kerslake, who of all his many awards was proudest of his recognitions for teaching excellence, our board of directors has established The Kenneth Kerslake Memorial Fund for Student Subscriptions to Contemporary Impressions, the journal of the American Print Alliance.

Ken was one of the founders of the American Print Alliance and served on our board for many, many years; without him, the Alliance would probably never have survived. He was such an exceptional person as well as a superb artist: every conversation inspired us to think deeper and do more, every print stirred our emotions. He understood so well that students are the future and he treated students as colleagues - working together in the studio and talking together about the most significant issues in contemporary art and the world.

Ken's Fund subscriptions provides full membership benefits to the Print Alliance. Students must be enrolled full time in a college, community college, university or art institute and must be nominated by member councils or by subscribers who teach printmaking, papermaking or book arts. For information:

Return to the Retrospective Exhibition, Three Master Printmakers: Lee Chesney, Krishna Reddy, and Ken Kerslake.