Inka Essenhigh’s painting Kitchen 2623 C.E. (2019) envisions a futuristic domestic space. A smoky, angelic female figure floats in a purple kitchen, above a floor that looks like astroturf. An anthropomorphized pan in front of her appears to grab fruit, a whisk, and various kitchen utensils in the process of making food. Such fantastical situations, rendered with fairy tale hues and softness, are a hallmark for the painter.
Describing why she works in a surrealist mode, Essenhigh said, “I can’t help it! Even if I make a picture with nothing distorted it is read as surrealistic. It just oozes out of me.” The Surrealist idea of “automatic drawing,” or unplanned sketching that supposedly brings out an artist’s subconscious, is particularly helpful for her practice. Essenhigh’s paintings allow her to explore “the deeply mysterious nature of the world.”