Kaya Lynn Noonan painting in studio
2023 Senior Exhibition Artists 2023 Senior Exhibition Artists: Kaya Lynn Noonan
Kaya Lynn Noonan

Art + Design: Painting

About Kaya Lynn Noonan

Kaya Noonan is an Art and Design major pursuing a BFA in Painting. She combines the figure with objects that alter light or involve complicated textures and patterns. In doing so, Kaya creates cryptic realities on canvas that evoke reflections on childhood, spatial consciousness, and reality.


My childhood was well documented by my mother through hundreds of photographs. In these photos I see myself, not as the troubled adult who knows too much about the world around me, but as the curious artist who had all the concerns of adulthood tucked away behind her ingenuous eyes, waiting to one day meet mine on canvas. I now use these photographs as source material for my current paintings. However, they were all developed in the 90’s and early 2000’s and lack the definition we have grown accustomed to in a digital image. Some may find using a source like this maddening, especially considering how large I scale the figure in my paintings. Alternatively, I find freedom in the simplicity of the brushstrokes and sparse details. I am not overwhelmed in having to replicate every minute feature in my usual obsessive way. In the end these large, ghostly figures of my past speak differently on the canvas, in an illusory manner. 

After the first painting, I decided this series needed something more, something present. My creativity was constrained by the photographs. I started adding objects to the compositions, ones that could be painted from life. These objects are chosen primarily because of their characteristics. A prior study involved my fascination with surfaces that alter light, this pushed me to paint things that are difficult to capture with a brush. Balloons, frosting, plastic wrap, and water bottles are among my favorites. The objects are intentionally challenging, and often change with the passing of time spent in the studio. This is done purposefully, as it does not allow me to fully capture every detail on canvas. Synthesizing objects from life with the photo source material method creates two analogous worlds within one painting, both of which display different aspects of my painting practice. I am able to exhibit my love for realism while expressing my own unique search for exaggerated characteristics. I do not wish to trick the eye into perceiving the images as hyper realistic but, moreover, to have the viewer question the reality in which the paintings exist. 

“I believe that magic IS art, and that art, whether it be writing, sculpture, or any other form, IS literally magic. Art is, like magic, the science of manipulating symbols, words, or images, to achieve changes in consciousness.” -Alan Moore