Works in the Collection
Kevin Sampson was raised in Elizabeth, New Jersey as the son of a civil rights leader. He initially trained and joined the New Jersey police force as a sketch artist. He served for 18 years, 10 with police sketching. A series of family tragedies eventually propelled him to heal himself by making art. Kevin Sampson’s work is made of reworked and transformed found objects including cement, bones, tiles, fabric, and various painting mediums including acrylics, oils, and stains. These objects, the bones, the tiles, the tiny specks, and leftovers from day-to-day living, are poetic archaeological elements that he sees as part of a conceptual vocabulary of impermanence and memory. In his works one gets the feeling of a barely-harnessed, dangerous energy, crackling with political, religious, and racial apprehension. His subjects are the people that he has known; people who had been part of this world; and people who have lived lives that he thought ought to be remembered. By constructing sculptures of physical memory inspired by Caribbean and American Southern styles, he builds works that are about family in all forms. They are at once political and intimate, frightening and freeing.
Sampson has exhibited at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, The Newark Museum, and more. His work can be found in a number of public collections, including The Center for Intuitive and Outside Art, Museum of American Folk Art, Mennello Museum of American Folk Art, Newark Museum, and others.