A glance over Kris Kuksi’s mixed-media assemblage and sculptures reveals his faithfulness towards classical form without ignoring the plight of modern time. For example, his sculptural piece, Unveiled Obscurity to be exhibited in Joshua Liner Gallery, NY, is inspired heavily by the master sculptors, like, Giovanni Strazza and Raffaelle Monti, of a bygone era. But, beneath the surface of the artistic intricacy and a perceived serenity lies the seething rage and mournful sighs of contemporary world. Kris Kuksi collects wood, metal and other materials from all over the world to create his ornate pieces. Much like the raw materials themselves the subjects of his artwork also resonate deep into the hearts of a global audience.
Kris Kuksi was born on 2nd March, 1973 in Missouri. He received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Studio Painting from Fort Hays State University, 2002. His work is exhibited in a number of galleries including Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and is collected by the likes of Guillermo del Toro and Robin Williams.
Where Fortunes are Made, The Pattern Maker, and Central Market Deli are Jacob Dhein’s visual portrayals directly lifted from the pages of the greatest book ever written, The Omnibus of Life. He even includes himself in this exhaustive series, The Artist and the Model. By empathetically portraying the everyday lives of artists, craftsmen and workmen Jacob Dhein not only proves himself capable of creating a masterful composition but also showcases that emotional sensibility which underlies any great work of art. By making the verve, vitality and woes of common men’s lives his subject he also queued himself up behind a long and illustrious line of artists that consists such names as Giovanni Battista Moroni, Adriaen van Ostade, Jan Steen, Jean–François Millet and Camille Pissaro.
Jacob Dhein graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in 2006. His work has received applauds from both critics and art aficionados in a very short period of time. In 2013 alone his work has been exhibited at a number of galleries including Salon International, Greenhouse Gallery, San Antonio, TX, Plein Air Group Show, Christian Daniels Gallery, San Francisco, CA and OPA Western Regional, South Wind Art Gallery, Topeka, KS. His work is an affirmation to the famous words of William Wordsworth, ‘The eye it cannot chuse but see / We cannot bid the ear be still / Our bodies feel, where’er they be / Against, or with our will.’
Ben Hammond’s interest in artistic pursuits did commence early in his life. Born in 1977, Ben spent early childhood in Pingree, Idaho. He graduated with a degree in illustration from Ricks College. However, it is his fondness of creating sculptural pieces that became evident with every passing day. He won both reputation and accolades through his sculptural work. The lost art of creating reliefs has also received a revival through his work. His efforts in this regard gained recognition and he was awarded the Dexter Jones Award for bas–relief from The National Sculpture Society, 2008 – 2010. He is also the recipient of Charlotte Geffken Prize, Brookgreen Gardens, 2010.
Ben Hammond’s work is not only an elaboration of human forms through sculpture but rather a vessel for storing and expressing the deepest thoughts that lurk within. The bronze models seem to expose their throbbing crimson heart to the audience to behold; they even grant a share of emotions to the audience for their beauty is forever imprinted in the mind’s eye of the viewers.
Jane Lewis’s Il Seragglio depicts a boat gently floating on the waters of one of the many canals in Venice. It seems that the boat is a part of a grand procession, with itself decorated as a dragon–like rooster–headed gondola. The vessel carries two men, a monkey with a small mask in hand and a Dalmatian. A girl with a nice hat watches with a somewhat languid curiosity from her window–seat of an ancient building in the backdrop. The faces of both the men on the gondola are covered with masks. No one is sure what emotion they are trying to hide behind their pretences. Jane Lewis’s portrayal of her own time is thick with plots and sub–plots. And as viewers try to peel one layer to dig deeper into the story another layer appears beneath posing a further set of riddles to be solved. As always with any great work of art the audience too becomes a part of the enigma and engages into a mental game with its creator.
Jane Lewis participated in a ground–breaking exhibition at the ICA in London, 1980, titled ‘Women’s Images of Men’. Sometime before this in 1977 she won the Slade Prize on graduation from the Slade School of Art UCL. ‘Women’s Images of Men’ and its sequel the ‘Pandora’s Box’ (1984 – 1985) set the tone of this innovative artist’s journey in many ways. Over the years her work has been showcased in solo and group exhibitions across the country and beyond. Portal Gallery, London housed her work from 1993 – 2012, Westcliffe Gallery, Norfolk from 1999 – 2013. The Red Dot Gallery, Holt, Norfolk exhibits her many contemporary pieces including The Puppet Master & His Automation Dog, Marionettes and Il Serraglio. Her paintings are in proud possession of many art aficionados, galleries and organisations such as University College London, Royal Museum & Art Gallery, Canterbury, Sheffield University Fine Art Society and Standard Chartered Bank. Jane also happens to be a skilled printmaker. Her name is included in the ‘Dictionary of International Biography’ published by Cambridge–Melrose Press (32nd edition onwards), ‘The Cambridge Blue Book’ since 2005, and ‘World Who’s Who of Women’ since 2009.
Back in 1957, a fourteen year old girl was seen deeply contemplating the work of a 20th century master, Pablo Picasso, in a museum named after him in Paris, France. It was there, for the first time in her life she learned the magnitude of the revolutionary artist’s work – realism tinged with symbolism, cubism, classicism, surrealism and so on. The visual extravaganza impressed her mind immensely and stayed there. The artist in Marcella Hayes Muhammad was stirred to its very core.
With her father being an air – force officer Marcella found herself stationed in many places including Japan, France, Germany and various parts of United States. The experience gathered and all that she has seen through this extensive excursion became a part of her own self. The encouragements of her mother Ruth Hayes, herself an art enthusiast and student of Art Institute of Chicago, and the inspiring stories of her father Harold Hayes that filled her ears as a child made her acutely aware of her own identity from an early age. She was inspired by cubism but had it redefined by dipping the brush in her own cultural heritage and her soulful energy which is self – evident in Plastic Space, a visual journal she is maintaining since 1964. In 1995 after seeing through a successful career in elementary education Marcella set up Maruva Studio in Georgia. Five years later her sister, Dianne Hayes Quarles, joined her and together they established Maruva DQ, Inc.
Marcella’s work is in the permanent collection of National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African American Culture Gallery, University of Montgomery, Alabama; The Academy of Arts, Inc. Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Alabama; APEX Museum, Atlanta, Georgia to name a few. But perhaps her greatest achievement to this date has come early in her life when she learnt, ‘inspiration exists, but it has to find you working’. It is owing to this lesson that we find her today, relentlessly busy perfecting her craft even after all the successes she managed to achieve to this date.