Friday, March 16, 2012

Show Opening: Kris Kuksi – “Triumph" @ Joshua Liner Gallery, NYC

Kansas based artist Kris Kuksi opened his latest show, Triumph, at Joshua Liner Gallery last night to a large crowd of very excited fans. Kris is probably most well known these days for his mixed-media sculpture, and large-scale installations although traditionally Kris would call himself a painter having first established himself in the medium of canvas and brush. Triumph is Kuksi’s third solo outing with the gallery and the most diverse presentation of his work to date.

I really can’t accurately describe how amazing Kris’s work is in person, probably the closest choice of words would be breath taking but even that doesn’t quite describe the feeling you get when you first see one of Kris’s works first hand. For my own part I have been eagerly anticipating this show for a very long while now and it still managed to exceed all my expectations.

Kris Kuksi - "Capricorn Rising" Mixed media assemblage 2012 80 x 72 x 22 in.

I got to the gallery a good 30 minutes before the show officially opened to the public, Josh Liner, friendly as ever, proclaimed with a genuine level of excitement that I was going to be the first person to see the show complete. Without wasting any time I pulled out the camera and started to get as many shots in as I could before the masses were due to arrive, only problem was I kept on getting lost in each piece for long periods of time, new details revealing themselves with each angle I shot from. When it was all said and done I spent over 2 hours taking photos of 9 pieces of which two pieces captured my immediate undivided attention. The large scale show stoppers are two of Kris’s finest works if not the finest period,  "Triumph" centers around a woman and prehistoric looking crocodile and the second, "Capricorn Rising," centered around what I believe to be a goat. Each piece was 7 to 8 feet high, 250 pounds in weight and mind blowing in every sense of the word.

“With its cautionary title, Triumph skewers the hubris and folly of human ambition. This cavalcade of epic works references mythology, the occult, and organized religion, and uses age-old techniques of visual storytelling to voice personal angst.”

Kris is the master of depicting epic themes paired with extravagant embellishments, his convergence of small, mass-produced materials, referred to as “kit bashing” traditionally, (although it should be noted that Kris goes way beyond this idea with his compositions) are intrinsically narrative, with an obsessive excess of detail that the viewer could get lost in for hours at a time.

Kris Kuksi -  "Hercules vs. Diana" Mixed media assemblage 2011 28 x 26 x 10 in.
The subject matter of the show fits nicely into Kris’s existing body of work, further exploring religion, allegory, war and the mythological archetypes of man and woman’s shift of balance in the paradigm of life as we know it today. One such piece entitled "David’ With Pride" centered around the story of David and Goliath, Kris took some time to tell me about the piece saying that when creating it he imagined a world where David had developed an ego over his defeat of Goliath almost becoming what he had defeated in the first place leaving others to follow the same fate.

Also featured is the tenth installment in Kuksi’s trenchant Churchtank series. “These constructions suggest an “unholy” resonance between the pious power of organized religions and the self-righteous imperialism of the military-industrial complex.” Though earlier versions have been smaller and, in the last instance, took the evocative form of a bronze edition, this latest Churchtank is a massive, ten-foot installation constructed of wood.

Kris Kuksi - "David with Pride" Mixed media assemblage 2012 31 x 23 x 11 in.

Check out the slide show below and make sure you click directly on it to get a larger view of the 100 plus detailed photos and if you live in or around the New York area make sure you make it to the show in person even if it’s the only one you go to this year.

Running from March 15 to April 7, 2012.
Kris Kuksi - "Triumph" March 15, 2012 Joshua Liner Gallery NYC - slide show

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