November 27th, 2009

Laguna News-Post


Artist and His Art Form Intimate Relationship with Nature , by ROBERTA CARASSO , 11/26/09

Artist Michael Kessler is passionate about exploring and creating art based on the dynamics of nature. His acrylic panels, in his solo exhibition at the Art Cube Gallery, are responses to questions he continually ponders: How do various natural processes affect the physical world? And why do natural substances get to be shaped the way they do?

Thus, Kessler’s techniques and original methods emerge from his close observation of nature and deciphering how it creates. In this way, the artist and his art form an intimate relationship with the natural world.

While scrutinizing natural specimens, the artist continues to question phenomena such as erosion, how the wind or water slowly sculpts rocks, manipulates soil, changes waterways, is constantly in a state of building, destroying, rebuilding, and altering the world at every moment. Kessler’s artistic processes, therefore, have become like natural processes.

The artist is not concerned with recreating how the world looks, capturing a static landscape. Rather, he uses numerous methods he meticulously devises, to bring about holistic, abstract imagery that is born from Kessler’s reconfiguring the never-ending forces that continually affect our planet.

Kessler is truly a seasoned painter and Laguna Beach is honored to have his art displayed here. He exhibits internationally, is a Rome Prize recipient as well as having received the Pollock/ Krasner Award, and praise for his work in the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program.

Making art consistently for 35 years, Kessler has much experience working with nature-based abstractions. Using many layers of paint, sanding, building up textures then removing layers, and adding more, Kessler gets closer to ways nature creates.

The final work of art shifts between representation and abstraction. When looking at his sophisticated panels, we don’t see nature, per se, but somehow each panel reminds us of some aspect of nature’s familiar wonderland.

Kessler is inspired by the endless examples nature provides. He might pick up a rock, turn it over and relish the colors of calcium rust or iron or the accumulation of oxidation. He ponders too how water seeps on to a stone and gives it its present color and shape. Nature constantly feeds his curiosity and artistic appetite.

Kessler is never at a lost for subject or for a new painting possibility. Yet Kessler’s style of painting is spontaneous, without plans or preconceptions. Arriving at his studio, he studies each panel and allows it to awaken an idea. The materials call to him and as an artist he responses, beginning the process in concert with the materials. One thing leads to another and the art evolves.

At the outset of the process, Kessler chooses certain parameters, such as colors that do affect the work. He avoided green colors for many years, but two years ago, Kessler decided to take up the challenge of greens when he observed how movie sets frequently use green walls for interiors. Greens enhance human skin color and create a harmonious setting. Gallery visitors, seeing Kessler’s work are inspired, even uplifted by his engaging imagery. It evokes a positive response as each painting enriches people’s vision of the world.