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Artist Kristen Throop speaking at Hammerfriar Gallery in 2022

Photo by Adrian Mendoza

Kristen Throop begins with a single subject, then creates a series of works relating to that subject to explore a complex idea. Series have focused on: activists to explore community and justice; a premodern portrait by Ingres to question modernism; T-Rex to look at rage and climate change; cuckoo clocks to investigate madness, cuckolding and tiny homes; cows to explore the joys and confines of suburbia.

Each series involves research, sketching, building the body of work and staging an exhibition.

Her focus is less on style than on concept — she is a conceptual artist who fabricates her ideas.

Kristen Throop is an insatiable learner, avid reader and closet librarian who travels the halls of the Metropolitan Museum in her dreams. She has a BFA from Syracuse University where she studied painting and drawing with Jerome Witkin. She has studied at Yale University and with the Museum of Modern Art in New York.


  • The Princesse: Retelling the Story of Art. Hammerfriar Gallery, Healdsburg. July – August 2022; and Recognition: Rethinking art and life. BackStreet Gallery, Santa Rosa, 2021. Using Ingres's 1851-1853 portrait of Pauline de Broglie as a lens to re-evaluate the story of modern and contemporary art.

    Los Guilicos Village: signage for houseless individuals moving into temporary housing, 65 images featuring dignity in small dwellings, installation at Los Guilicos Village, exhibition at Backstreet Gallery, Santa Rosa, 2020.

    Christmas Squirrel: the vast machinery of holiday cheer and mania condensed in to one furry and frenetic mammal, Santa Rosa City Council Chambers, as well as Back Street Gallery, 2019.

    Graphic Works: 30 large scale tempera paintings in flat colors, at Back Street Gallery, 2019.

    T-Rex: Series of drawings and watercolors using T-Rex to depict rage and catastrophe, exhibition and discussion, at Back Street Gallery, 2018.

    A search for a road and a search for freedom: Six series by Kristen Throop, at Backstreet Gallery, Santa Rosa, 2017.

    Der Kuckuck hol' dich (The Cuckoo's Going to Get You)series of cuckoo clocks contemplating insanity and politics, at Backstreet Gallery, Santa Rosa, 2017.

    The Lion-for-real, the heightened emotions of the Technicolor process, captured in transparent back-lit film. Exhibition name based on Jane Hirschfeld's essay on Allan Ginsburg's poem of the same name, which explores the origins of creativity. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the invention of Technicolor, the artist edited an outdoor screening of the history of Technicolor. Backstreet Gallery, Santa Rosa and Tailored Salon, San Francisco, 2015.

    A Course Neither Bitter Nor False, exhibition of 46 paintings, Finley Center, Santa Rosa, May 2015.

    Before: Light Sculptures an installation of 30 hanging light sculptures made from children’s clothes. WinterBlast, Santa Rosa, CA, November 2014 and 2015.

    Bear: 19 paintings of “the bear with glowing eyes deep in the human unconscious”, exhibition as well as a series of three public lectures. Backstreet Gallery, Santa Rosa, CA, July 2014.

    Rumination: Gouaches of cows depicting suburban joy and angst. Images included “earworms”. A soundtrack of grazing cows and public talks were part of the exhibition. Backstreet Gallery May 2013, Cafe Friday, 2020, and 33 Arts (with new work) May 2021.

  • Sonoma-County Flattening the Curve, Blasted Art Gallery, online pandemic exhibition curated by Chris Beards and Bill Shelley, 2020.

    Instructions for Underground Movements: visual art and theatrical performance with a common source in fairy tales, large tempera paintings of inverted Snow Whites, The Imaginists Theater, Santa Rosa, 2019.

    The Art of Resistance, Backstreet Gallery, 2017.

    Spring Exhibition, Falkirk Center, San Rafael, May-July 2016.

    Human | Nature: Juried Exhibition, Fulton X Gallery, Santa Rosa, August 2014.

    Untitled: A Juried Art Exhibition, Gallery 300, Santa Rosa, June 2013.

    Winterblast, Backstreet Gallery, Santa Rosa, yearly November 2010 thru 2019.

    Small Works, Backstreet Gallery, Santa Rosa, February 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

    Vine Art, Backstreet Gallery, Santa Rosa, July 2011 and 2012.

    Artwalk, Backstreet Gallery, Santa Rosa, yearly August 2012 thru 2019, chief organizer 2017 and 2018.

    Art for Life, Friedman Center, Santa Rosa, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001.

    Selected Works: Kristen Throop and Alejandro Salazar, Hyatt Dry Creek, Santa Rosa, December 2011.

    Ton of Joy: New Sculpture and Painting, The Hollis Street Project, Emeryville, January 2002.

    Homage and Inspiration, Sebastopol Center for the Arts, May 1998.

    Italian Street Painting Festival, San Rafael, 1997, 1998.

    Whispers, Gallery on the Rim, San Francisco, and Soundscape, Santa Rosa, April 1996.

    A Really Big Show of Small Works, Coop Fine Art, Occidental, March 1995.

    Id Shot Eros: Love in the 90s, Coop Fine Art, Occidental, January 1995.

    Birds Eye View: A Conceptual Art Show, Elle Lui, Santa Rosa, May 1994.

    A Woman’s Purse: A Private Passion, Elle Lui, Santa Rosa, May 1992.

    Society of Illustrators Scholarship Competition, New York City, May 1983.

  • New downtown Santa Rosa walking trail honors local activists, Dan Taylor, Press Democrat, October 25, 2023.


    Exhibit frames art history as a ‘rich conversation.’ Dan Taylor, Press Democrat, June 22, 2022.

    Artist Kristen Throop exhibits four-year project at A Street. Dan Taylor, Press Democrat, August 4, 2021.

    Artist helps make Santa Rosa shelter at Los Guilicos home for former Joe Rodota Trail residents, Chantelle Lee and Mary Callahan, Press Democrat, February 10, 2020.

    Best Things to Do in Sonoma County in 2020, full page image of Before light sculptures, Sonoma Magazine, January/February 2020.

    Artful Shopping: Find Local Gifts this Season, by Charlie Swanson, North Bay Bohemian, December 9-15, 2020.

    A Town-Hall Feel at ‘The Art of Resistance’, Gabe Meline, KQED, February 5, 2017.

    Artful Resistance, by Charlie Swanson, Bohemian, February 8, 2017.

    Sonoma County artists joining protests, Dan Taylor, Press Democrat, January 27, 2017.

    Technicolor Art in Santa Rosa, by Charlie Swanson, Bohemian, September 2, 2015.

    Eclectic Spectacle Unfolds, Press Democrat, November 16, 2014.

    Critic’s Choice: Ain’t No Bull, Kristen Throop’s Debut Show at Backstreet Gallery, by Gabe Meline, Bohemian, May 8, 2013.

  • Harriet T. Leavenworth Award for Scholarship in Illustration, Syracuse University, 1984.

    Society of Illustrators Scholarship Award, New York City, 1983. Selected from 3,500 entries for a show of 170. Received one of the few monetary awards.

  • Public Art Strategic Planning Committee, Advocate for greater inclusion of disparate voices, easier access to funding and rehaul of application process, City of Santa Rosa, 2020.

    Santa Rosa Public Arts Risk Assessment and Contingency Workshop, Addressing immediate needs to artists in the community in wake of the pandemic and fires, City of Santa Rosa, 2020.

    National Arts Program Judge, Sonoma County, 2020.

    Benton Street Improvement Association, four neighbor coalition to spread tolerance and inclusion one sign at a time, 2017-2018.

    The Seminar, discussion and reading group for artists led by Throop for six months, tackling the big issues of art: the greater art world, belief, committed practice, search for meaning, art world etiquette, 2017.

  • Open Yale Courses: European Civilization, 1648-1945, John Merriman. 24 online lectures with 3,000+ pages of reading, winter 2020-2021.

    Open Yale Courses: Epidemics in Western Society Since 1600, Frank Snowden. 25 online lectures with supplemental reading, winter 2020-2021.

    MoMA, NYC, Catalysts: Artists Creating with Video, Sound, and Time taught by Randall Packer, 2017.

    Yale University, Interactive Design taught by Dan Michaelson (designer of the Whitney Museum site), five week course onsite, New Haven, CT, July and August 2009.

    MoMA, NYC, Painting Techniques of Postwar Abstract Expressionists, taught by Corey D’Augustine, an historian, conservator and painter. A graduate-level, ten-week course taught online. It included discussions with classmates from around the world, weekly painting assignments, critiques, and about 1,000 pages of reading. Summer of 2011.

    MoMA, NYC, History of modern art before 1945 and History of art after 1945. Focusing on specific works in the collection. Winter of 2011 and spring of 2012.

    Sumi-e painting with Dr. Sazu Soto, Mendocino, September 2001.

    Poetry slam competitor. Actor’s Theater, Santa Rosa, 1998-2001.

    Painting Without Judgement, Sue Siskin. Week-long painting intensives. Mendocino Art Center, May 1995, July 1998. Acapulco Bay, January 2000.

    Psychology of Symbols in Dreams and Paintings, Sonoma State, Spring Semester 1994.

    Bachelor of Fine Arts with honors, magna cum laude, Syracuse University, 1985.

Kristen Throop installs a marker on the sidewalk for Claiming Justice
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