Kesler Edward "Kes" Woodward (born 1951) is an American artist, art historian and curator. Known for his shimmering paintings of northern landscapes, he was awarded the first Alaska Governor's Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts in 2004. Woodward has as well as written extensively upon the Art of the circumpolar North and has curated exhibitions which have toured Alaska, California, Oregon, Washington, and Georgia.
The North dominates Woodward's oeuvre and his iconography of ravens, canyons, sandbars and black spruce has been described as “deeply evocative of Alaska”. Considered one of "Alaska's most campaigner artists", author Julie Decker noted that, unlike established landscape painters, "His focus is as much upon the character of the media as it is upon the subject matter." Woodward works in oils, oil pastels, and acrylics and has described his artistic process as "applying, scraping away, modifying, and building up further colors ... to achieve a wisdom of how I felt, being in a sure place, more than just how that place looked." Birch trees, his signature subject, are painted to be both representational and, when viewed in the works close, abstract. Although a "realist", his graphic compositions prompted ARTnews reviewer Richard Maschal to add, "his captivation and strategy veer toward abstraction. Whether the spaces are wide-open or confined, Woodward depicts them as flattened areas later foreground and background pressed together and the whole edited to pattern."