Kendra Sollars: New Works

Artist Statement

Kendra Sollars’ work investigates our human connection with the natural world, the importance of our role in maintaining the environment’s balance, our interconnectedness with other humans, and themes of loss, isolation, and hope. With over 15 years experience of competitive and professional artistic (synchronized) swimming, Sollars’ work often explores the subject of water and its importance to our survival. Her history of storytelling through the sport of Artistic Swimming continues on through her visual artwork in which she uses shape and form, often using her own body filmed underwater in her video projections. An underlying meditative quality also runs throughout much of her work, with an aim to put forth visual art offering a tranquil environment for herself and the viewer, counteracting her own internal struggles with panic attacks and anxiety. Her most recent ongoing work Dark Days, Bright Skies: Isolation and Quarantine is a video projection project documenting the passing days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each day since March 27th, 2020; the day the US hit 100,000 COVID cases, Sollars has captured a few seconds of video of the sky, mostly filmed peering out her bedroom window. As each metaphorically dark day has elapsed, in stark contrast to the physically bright skies that emerge each day, filming has not ceased. Dark Days, Bright Skies: Isolation and Quarantine serves as a solemn memory of the devastating toll this pandemic has taken on human lives but also represents the hope on the horizon that the vaccine brings us, as we slowly begin to transition into a post-pandemic life. As we go forth in this transition, her work aims to focus on reconnecting with each other and with our surroundings.

For this show, Sollars will create a body of work which transforms the viewer into the subject, reflected back and/or projected into the artwork. Each digital video will be filmed by Sollars in a natural environment in and around the Phoenix area. Each location will be of unique significance to our ecosystem. Sollars will document a variety of different landscapes from forest-areas, to waterways, to desert scapes, preserving them digitally in a type of ‘portal’ in which the viewer will see themselves reflected back. The land and waterscapes will be individually digitally manipulated, as if they are memories and almost dreamlike. With the threat of climate change looming over us, and the uncertainty of the future of natural spaces critical to the survival of many species, including our own, Sollars aims to capture these spaces for the viewer to both literally and metaphorically reflect. The artist will aim to use recycled digital display screens from discarded laptops, monitors, and TVs to construct each piece. The funding will be used to acquire screens, reflective mirror material, low power/small footprint media players, framing material, and travel funds for on-site location filming.



Kendra Sollars is an Arizona native currently working in video-based public installation. She received a B.A. in Art from The Ohio State University (2009) and claimed two National Championships in varsity synchronized swimming the same year. Sollars was a highly competitive synchronized swimmer for fifteen years. Her competitive swimming turned creative and professional as she worked as a head choreographer for the Arizona Desert Dolphins synchronized swimming team (2009-2012) and worked as an Artist/Athlete in the prestigious production of Cirque du Soleil’s O, in Las Vegas, Nevada (2011-2012). As a synchronized swimmer, Sollars explored narrative and form through movement and performance. She has adapted that experience into an interdisciplinary art practice that includes video, photography, performance, and installation. Sollars’s work explores our human interconnectedness with the natural world, particularly with water, often using her own physical form as the subject of her work. Her most recent work has been displayed at the Tempe Center for the Arts and Mesa Arts Center. Her collaborative work with artist Lauren Strohacker, Animal Land (2013), was awarded the Contemporary Forum Emerging Artist Grant (2014) by the Phoenix Art Museum and the Artist Research and Development Grant by the Arizona Commission on the Arts (2015). Sollars’s technical experience includes Adobe After Effects, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Lightroom and Premiere Pro. Sollars currently lives and works in Tempe, Arizona and was named one of the top 100 creatives in the city by the Phoenix New Times (2014).


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