Kathryn Cárdenas is a fine artist from the Philippines with an interdisciplinary and multi-sector background in international development, education, and global communications. As a former museum professional in a corporate foundation, she values and advocates for the importance of the arts, humanities, and visual culture of truth in society. While working in cultural diplomacy and leadership at a global organization, she switched careers to pursue her artistic vocation.
Art has always been Kathryn’s passion as a child. Initially, a self-taught artist, Kathryn moved to Italy to develop traditional representational art skills. She received intensive training in the classical atelier tradition at the Florence Academy of Art and completed the full-time program in 2011.
Kathryn has a BA from the Ateneo de Manila University and holds dual-graduate degrees in fine art (M.F.A.) and visual culture studies (M.A.) at Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD) of Ferris State University. She has received a Graduate Fellowship from KCAD, and has participated in various exhibitions. Kathryn is an Adjunct Professor at the Ateneo de Manila University Fine Arts Department and works in her private art practice in Metro Manila, Philippines.
Kathryn’s works explore the intersection between art, faith, beauty, and the nature of the Transcendent.
In a world inherently insecure, humans often find themselves seeking solace, hope, and moments of transcendence. The world needs beauty. It has the power to transform and influence the lives of people. As an artist, I am interested in the intersection between art, faith, and mystery—offering a relationship through my paintings by evoking a profound aesthetic experience for the viewer. My work explores themes of beauty and the sublime as a pathway to the Divine. I represent these themes through contemplative pieces with objects, figures, or landscapes resembling personal and lived experiences of my search for Beauty, Truth, and Goodness; finding God in different moments. Thus, my paintings are intended to inspire meditative experiences, drawing viewers into an intimate conversation that brings them deeper into and beyond themselves.
My art represents what is true about a person, a moment in time, an object or set of objects, or nature. Beauty is truth, and the truth is essential in our lives. As an artist, it is my job to communicate this message to everyone—for I believe that it is a necessity for people to be reminded of what is true, sincere, and honest, by what is beautiful, natural, and sublime, in order to appreciate the world around us.
I desire to paint works of art that will ultimately give glory to God, our Creator since He is Beauty and Truth—may it be a simple still-life set-up, landscape, or scenes from everyday life. I hope to draw out God's likeness and His creation from the people, the objects, and the scenery that I re-create on canvas.
My art shows how the spirit comes to us. My recent body of work brings together how light signifies a more profound appreciation of the Lord of Light in this dark, insecure, and broken world. In our busy, globalized, and disconnected society, creating this avenue for viewers to pause and reconnect with their hearts and spirits is essential in my work as an artist. Drawing and painting are my ways of giving homage to God who created the natural masterpiece, which is the temporal world we currently reside in. My goal is to provide an experience of beauty and the sacred to humanity.
I believe that the world needs beauty through art that transcends, moves, inspires, and elevates humanity to the divine. This is what I envision my art to be in my lifetime: to add beauty to this world by painting imagery in which weary souls can find respite, joy, reflection, and nourishment by viewing, and ultimately encourage a return to an appreciation of God, Beauty, and Truth. - Kathryn Cárdenas
“Beauty opens our hearts, inviting us to transcendence and leading us to inconspectu Dei—before the face of God.”
—Dietrich Von Hildebrand
“Beauty, whether that of the natural universe or that expressed in art, precisely because it opens up and broadens the horizons of human awareness, pointing us beyond ourselves, bringing us face to face with the abyss of Infinity, can become a path towards the transcendent, towards the ultimate Mystery, towards God. Art, in all its forms, at the point where it encounters the great questions of our existence, the fundamental themes that give life its meaning, can take on a religious quality, thereby turning into a path of profound inner reflection and spirituality.”
“[A]t the end of the [Second Vatican] Council the Fathers addressed a greeting and an appeal to artists: ‘This world—they said—in which we live needs beauty in order not to sink into despair. Beauty, like truth, brings joy to the human heart and is that precious fruit which resists the erosion of time, which unites generations and enables them to be one in admiration!'”
—St. John Paul II
"Fundamentally, the need for art in the exposition and defense of the faith rests in the fact that God is Beauty. He has revealed Himself through Jesus Christ and that revelation is an expression of Beauty. Truth, Beauty and Being are interchangeable terms. God is Truth; He is Beauty; He is Being. The expression of revealed Truth is supported by beauty, which in man's world is art, the human expression of God's creation in a variety of media employed by the skilled and trained artist to reflect the world that God has created. We worship God, the Creator, not alone by acceptance of the truths about Himself which He has chosen to reveal to us, but in the employment of human art to carry us, both intellectually and emotionally, to the realization of the Beauty that God is."
—Mons. Richard J. Schuler
 Dietrich Von Hildebrand. Aesthetics. Volume 1, trans. Brian McNeil (Ohio: Dietrich Von Hildebrand Legacy Project, 2016), 7.
 “Meeting with Artists: Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI (November 21, 2009),” Vatican, accessed January 12, 2012, https://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/speeches/2009/november/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20091121_artisti.html.
 “Letter of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to Artists (April 4, 1999),” Vatican, accessed July 1, 2011, https://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/letters/1999/documents/hf_jp-ii_let_23041999_artists.html.
 "Art and Faith," Catholic Culture, accessed March 16, 2023, https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=3566.