Artist StatementARTIST STATEMENT I began toying with dry pigment 20 years ago in a prankish attempt to synthesize drawing with painting, specifically to combine the speculative mark-making of drawing with the synchronic form-giving power of painting. As this flirtation progressed, I came to rely increasingly on this medium. Dry pigment as pure color is neither line nor form; it is merely dust, and there is no tool separating the artist from the activity. Here the body is the tool, hands probe, arms strike, fingers react, one’s breath coaxes; the concepts of manipulation and verification of both the maker and what is made is subsumed by the intrinsic qualities of the dust. And that essence is immediate, tactile, and intriguingly ephemeral. With these paintings, my desire has been to construct an ineffable space, a luminous, volumetric space as loaded with emotion as the surface is loaded with pigment. The initial preparatory step is little more than a vague excitation and sometimes, a thumbnail sketch. My activity involves applying successive layers of color-often as many as 30-continually testing the capacity of the paper to hold the pigment. At some point in this laborious process the dry pigment ceases to behave in any known fashion. It is at this moment the work begins to emerge.
Ken is an award winning artist living in Chestertown, Maryland.
His work has been exhibited widely up and down the East
Coast and has found its way into many corporate
and private collections.
Ken took a circuitous route in the pursuit of an artistic career. He received a Bachelor of Architecture from Cooper Union and while there, he could often be found hiding out in the painting studios of Wolf Kahn and Robert Gwathmey. That restlessness bore fruit in his final architectural thesis which was primarily about dissolving architectural spaces through the use of color and light effects. He has taught both art and architecture at the University of Kentucky and the Illinois Institute of Technology and is currently a partner at QA13 Architects.
His skills as an artist are largely self-taught. He tends to rely heavily on architectonic principles, especially in the honest use of materials and process. His practice therefore, has an unaffected quality. He mixes his own colors and makes the pigment tools he uses, matching them to the shape and strength of his hand. While it is not a conscious intent to extend the creative practice to include the actual manufacture of the material used, it is logical that he would be interested in their genesis and these paintings integrate such knowledge. In the process he hopes his activities would also begin to suggest where the bounds between discipline and surrender lie.
“I am an artist, which means I strip away the feints, the slights of hand, and the personal certitude to uncover the emotional truths lurking within. As I work on a piece, I tend to discard one attempt after another until the only thing left is the essence of that truth.”