Kuhn’s work demonstrates the juxtaposition of intuition verses strategy, with undulating free formed abstraction alongside fastidious hand-drawn lines. His works are initially made with a fast, energetic motion, which he describes as a natural response that is outside of his control. He then analyses that outcome to create a controlled composition, utilising geometry and manipulating the energy of the paint.
His works balance precariously between the realms of tradition and abstraction, referencing both Abstract Expressionism and Minimalist schools – the fast gestures recall AbEx and Colorfield whilst the rigid, geometric compositions feel very minimalist. In addition, the gradients recall the Southern Californian movement of Light and Space Art and their use of transparent or reflective materials that were at the cutting edge of technology at the
time. By using gradients to create light, we see this mimicking the inner light source that illuminates our televisions, computers, tablets, and phones every day. His artistic references create a visual timeline of how fast the technology moves, and how we move and adapt with it.
Despite his attempt to summon the digital world, his handmade, painstaking brushwork shifts between traditional European Art and the contemporary. The gradients could be the product of Photoshop, but the metamorphosis of luminosity characterises the background of a Baroque still life.
The elements of visual trickery are important to Kuhn. Historically, artists aspired to trick the viewer into trompe l’oeil, whereas the modern day viewer assumes such skill is created by digital manipulation. In Kuhn’s work, the viewer is faced with an initial perception of what they think they are experiencing, which changes after reflection; how they are created, is in fact different to how they appear to have been created.
Kuhn’s reverence for paint is reflected in his works, he believes that you can create with paint things that cannot be done in other mediums, that the way we perceive a painting is much more extraordinary than a photo, film or digital media. In seeking to defy the viewer’s expectation, he creates an experience that slows down, questions and filters through the inundation of digital imagery we see every day, whilst remaining innovative and influenced by our technological world.
Christopher Kuhn (b.1977, Chicago, USA) lives and works in Los Angeles, California. Solo and two-person exhibitions include: Geary Contemporary, New York, USA (2017); FIELD Contemporary, Vancouver, Canada (2014); Sonce Alexander Gallery, Culver City, California, USA (2014); Autonomie, Los Angeles, California, USA (2011); 1010 Gallery, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA (2008); and the Market Gallery, Los Angeles, California, USA (2003). Group exhibitions include: Bentley Gallery, Phoenix, USA (2017); BLAM Projects, Los Angeles, USA (2016); Sonce Alexander Gallery, Culver City, California, USA (2015); Manhattan Beach Art Center, Manhattan Beach, California, USA (2014); Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, California, USA (2014, 2013); and Marin Community Foundation, Novato, California, USA (2013). In 2007, Kuhn was also an artist in residence at the Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, Vermont, USA. Kuhn pursued graduate studies in painting at University of Tennessee Knoxville, USA and holds a Post-Bac Certificate from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, USA (2007) as well as a B.A. Art History from the American University of Paris, France (1999).
Exhibition: Christopher Kuhn | As I Live and Breathe
Dates: 30 June – 26 August 2017
Preview: Thursday 29 June 2017, 6-8pm
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 10am – 6pm, Saturday 12 – 5pm Location: 22 Dering Street, London, W1S 1AN
Tel: +44 (0)20 7629 9188 Website: www.ronchinigallery.com
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Ronchini Gallery: Instagram and Twitter: @RonchiniGallery #RonchiniGallery Christopher Kuhn: Instagram: #ChristopherKuhn #AsILiveAndBreathe and Twitter: #ChristopherKuhn
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Tel: +44 (0)20 7629 9188