Artist Kurt Von Behrmann uses abstraction to convey his thoughts on social issues. See more work from this talented artist by visiting his website.
What are your goals?
The aims I have had as an artist with the recent work have involved working with ideas and abstractions. Conceptually, the work is concerned with ideas related to place, time and the state of society. Rather than say things directly, I have employed a subtle language of shapes and forms to express ideas related to society, alienation and desire for connectedness in a technological age that has brought greater forms of communication.
With Toulon, a construction, I wanted to address the idea of moving beyond the rectangular canvas to create a work that is multimedia that still incorporates the painted surface.
What are you working on now?
The most recent project I worked on was a one person show in Phoenix Arizona. I had not put one together in a while, so this gave me the opportunity to see a range work of work. Instead of focusing just on abstraction, I opted instead to focus on my representational work. I have always enjoyed working with the human figure. The solo show, which I called “Idiosyncrasy” presented recent work and related work.
The most current piece I finished was a figure drawing of a model who is also an actor. He had expressed interest in a drawing, and he to some extent inspired my development back into figure drawing and formal black and white drawing from a more classical perspective.
What inspires you?
First, and foremost, experience and location are huge in impacting my work. When I moved to Phoenix, Arizona and established my studio here, the light the intense sun and the environment changed my colors from darker values to very intense ones. Some have even called me a “colorist,” but I see color the way a musician sees musical notes. I envision a color as expressive of a mood.
Another element that inspires me is Music. When I heard Aimee Mann’s recording “The Forgotten Arm,” what is inspired me was the idea of having very heavy, intense themes presented with incredible rich melodies that were poetic. That gave me the idea of presenting intellectual ideas using bright colors rather than dark ones. The play of heavy dark themes with bright intense colors created a tension that I enjoy.
In terms of Artists that inspired me, there are many. But I have to give credit to Jun Kaneko, Ruth Lampkins, Ed Hamilton, Egon Schiele, George Klimt, Kathe Kollwitz and Alberto Giacometti. There are are others, but those are artists I look at a great deal. Another artist whose earlier work was a huge inspiration was Gilda Snowden.
Coupled with teaching, making art and writing, being an artist has always been the central focus with almost everything else built around that. With the works in progress, I am aiming to create new dynamic works that challenge the notion of what a canvas is, what painting is and what multimedia can be.