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Kevin Wolff Text


Are you poking fun at the creation myth - breathing life into lumps of clay?
No, I just wanted an interesting excuse to paint flesh and find another way to make a figure painting. Though, I guess it is part of the meaning or humor that helps you engage with the work but it wasn’t on of the original impulses.

How do you get the silky surface, depth and nuance from acrylic paint?
Work! But what you’re really asking is: why don’t I use oil paint. I sometimes think that what I want for the surface could be better achieved with oil paint but, ultimately, I don’t think that’s true and I don’t want to paint shiny paintings which is what you end up with when you build up layers of transparencies in oil. I’ve adapted to the characteristics of acrylic such as the faster drying time (a plus) the lesser color intensity (not), and the matte surface (big plus) which is more evocative of flesh.

What keeps you engaged with the abstraction and figurative dialogue?
The use of the figurative and the abstract is what causes the tension in the work. The reality of the image doesn’t gibe with the abstract elements of the subject. That’s disorienting, that’s interesting to me. The absolutely real, the deadpan, plausible means of the images contradicts the implausibility and absurdity of the depicted form. A clash of the real with the abstract exists in any work that really holds my interest.

When and how did you begin painting from your photographs of your constructions?
I’ve always been attracted to the use of photography in painting. It provides a partially edited and already flattened image. The hard part is to take what you need, know what to change or expand on and, leave the extraneous information. That takes an understanding of the conceptual direction and how the formal elements feed into that concept.

Why not just make a sculpture? Your process seems so convoluted: construct an object which is not art, photograph it and make a painting of it.
What fascinates me is painted space, it has the capacity to suspend and transform reality. It’s also extremely efficient. I can make these conceptual models, record them, maybe enlarge them, manipulate them in any way that’s necessary, turn them to the wall and start another. I don’t need the space or materials it would take to sufficiently translate what I’d need in sculptural terms. That’s not to say I haven’t thought about the potential use of real space but a lot of the ambiguities that interest me would vanish if I became too literal.

Do you think you could push the picture plane any further out?
If I needed to, sure I could.

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