Kiry Tiberius uses viscous oils and knives to create three-dimensional paintings of the natural world. She strikes a balance between focused detail and impressionistic backgrounds, resulting in compositions that pay life-like homage to specific species while letting the eye roam freely to wild surroundings. “With a knife, you can make textures that break up the light on the painting's surface, just like real fur and feathers,” she says. “ And the paint dries slowly enough to edit and shift as you go.”
Formally trained as an opera singer, Kiry prefers the peacefulness of visual expression to the pressure of performing. “The vulnerability of fighting demons in front of people can be truly terrifying, whereas using a knife tip to capture the roundness of a bird's eye – that is immensely satisfying to me.”
Kiry is also known for her miniature canvases that have garnered a following on Instagram. “I have always loved small things. Tiny shells, little flowers, doll's houses, you name it. There’s a magic to finding beauty in tiny things. Plus, a freedom in the limitations inherent in such small canvases. You can’t be precious.” Her small-scale work ranges from animal portraits to landscapes.
Kiry’s life-long apprenticeship with her father, self-taught artist Richard Tiberius, has evolved over the years from cameo animal depictions into what is now a day-to-day collaboration at their shared studio in Washington, DC. Kiry received formal art training, but attributes her love of sculptural knife painting to her dad – and her intense aversion to washing brushes.