MFA Studio: #4 

Email: akirkegaard@ecuad.ca 

Website: aidenkirkegaard.com

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/aidenkirkegaardart/ @aidenkirkegaardart 


Aiden Kirkegaard is a painter working in Vancouver and a current MFA candidate at Emily Carr University. In 2023, Aiden received the Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master’s Award (CGS M) for her research studies at Emily Carr and the Gathie Falk Visual Arts scholarship in 2022. Aiden received her BFA with a Minor in Art History from the University of British Columbia Okanagan in 2020. It was at UBCO that Aiden also received the Medal in Fine Arts. Her work has been shown in solo exhibitions at the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art. Aiden has also participated in group exhibitions at the Seymour Art Gallery, the Lake Country Art Gallery, the Fina Gallery, Gallery Vertigo, the Rotary Arts Centre, and the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art. She has done artist talks at the Vernon Public Art Gallery and the Kelowna Art Gallery. Aiden acknowledges that she is a guest creating work on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples, including the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations.

Keywords: painting, memory, daydreaming, colour, domestic space


My work explores how our memories are formed and transformed by domestic space. All of our memories, even those left unremembered, line the walls of the homes we grew up in, they are embedded in the space, woven into its architecture. In her writing The Role of Domestic Architecture in the Structuring of Memory, Tonya Davidson considers how our childhood homes become “second bodies” for storing memory in the same way that our bodies accumulate and hold memory. My work explores how memories accumulate within domestic space, building upon one another in the same way that painted brushstrokes and colour build layers in a painting. This work looks at the question: Can paintings become vessels for remembering memories tied to home? 

There are certain areas of the home such as; windows, ceiling corners, closets and doorways that become portals for imagination, a way of entering into a different imaginative world. French Philosopher Gaston Bachelard writes in his book Poetics of Space about how daydreaming and imagining become natural to us in the shelter of domestic space. Each painting becomes a type of vessel or “second body” that is able to store memory and invoke dreaming. The investigative actions of putting paint on canvas embody a form of retracing and imagining spirited memories from my childhood. The architecture of my childhood home from the years 2001-2013, functions as a place of origin in the work and a starting point in the process of painting. The construction and deconstruction of the shaped canvas structure explore the way memory can become fragmented over time.

Over the past two years during the pandemic, my relationship with home has changed and I have found myself wanting to reconnect with my younger self, wanting her unencumbered mind to be mine again. Coming out of the pandemic, there is a need to restore imagination and play. These paintings reflect an imagined transitional space that allows someone to enter into a joyful remembered past. The abstract spaces with painted and stitched marks provide a space for the viewer to explore, dream and play so that they too can reconnect with their unencumbered self.

A selection of previous work (more can be viewed on my website linked above):