A Southern California-based conceptual artist who specializes in what he calls “constructional art,” Kingsley is equal parts philosopher, master craftsman, painter, sculptor, engineer, and graphic artist, creating work that is both tactile and interactive. His latest project, a 22-foot-tall by 18-foot-across sculpture entitled Barbed, was created both to evoke the atrocities humans have suffered at each other’s hands throughout history and also to uplift the spirits of those who strive to end such suffering. Made from mirror polished stainless steel, twisted to resemble a piece of barbed wire fence, the viewer’s own reflection can clearly be seen in the twisted metal.
The project was born when Kingsley was speaking at a private Jewish school. “These three rabbis came to me and asked if I’d help them build a Holocaust memorial. There was very little budget, so I had to get creative, and the image just came to me suddenly. The idea—and the question—was: ‘how do you engage people in becoming aware of human rights?’ We don’t think about it, even though we see it on the news every night.”
In spite of its dark subject matter, Kingsley views Barbed as an optimistic work. “This is the barb that was cut. This is about that barb that just flew off the fence, and somehow transformed itself into something else.”