While Per Kirkeby's paintings defy categorization as either
abstract or representational, nature continues as a central
motif in the artist's new work. Nature is conveyed
through layers of paint and coloured surfaces that overlap
to create a poetic rendition of the subject. Kirkeby describes
the composition of his paintings as a 'deposit' --
a geological term. As such, the materiality and the subject
of the paintings are intertwined, being composed of, and
alluding to, surface and substrata conditions, structure
and erosion. Kirkeby's work operates within the grand
Romantic tradition, marrying the poetic and metaphysical
to the scientific investigation of object matter.
Born in 1938, Per Kirkeby studied natural
history at the University of Copenhagen, 1957 - 1964. He
also studied painting and performance at the Experimental
School of Art, and became affiliated with the Fluxus
movement. From these early years he explored a variety
of art forms in addition to painting and performance,
including sculpture, architecture, drawing, printmaking,
film and literature. This depth and range of interests
has continued to inspire Kirkeby throughout his long
and distinguished career.
Considered the preeminent artist of Denmark, Per Kirkeby: Paintings 2004 - 2005
is a rare occasion to see the artist's work in the United States.