yale school of art

Painting

Vignette: Henry Chodkowski

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Henry Chodkowski taught painting at the University of Louisville for 37 years (1962-1999), and how many students/artists he influenced in that time is almost literally incalculable.

As an artist, Chodkowski moved from geometric compositions and stark graphic drawings to a particularly evocative landscapes influenced by multiple journeys to Greece. Many artists express a highly developed sense of place for a special location: Van Gogh in Arles and Gauguin in Tahiti are obvious examples, men obsessed with the individual sun and atmosphere they couldn’t seem to find anywhere else.

Chodkowski's fascination with the island of Crete and the Aegean Sea may have also been about the light - the Mediterranean sun is the stuff of legends, after all, but in the paintings we see here, the formal elements of landscape have largely receded into a vigorously executed abstract field of emotional color. While we know that Chodkowski painted from direct observation, the turmoil of stormy weather he captures must also be forging a connection with the deep wealth of history and mythology inherent in that country. The organic relationship between the slate blue and flushed pink in the sky show us the dense and threatening tempest, not the saturating sunlight we find in postcards.

"Ouranos-Thalassa, 26" by Henry Chodkowski, Acrylic on paper, 103:4 x 115:8in, circa

"Ouranos-Thalassa, 26" by Henry Chodkowski, Acrylic on paper, 103:4 x 115:8in, circa

In several pieces, such as “Ouranos Thalassa, 26”, that connection to ancient history is made explicit with impressions of ancient symbols in the paper. Chodkowski looks so far beyond the present-day culture, that the act of artistic creation merges with an intuitive sense of archaeology that borders on the mystical.

“These paintings are charged with the direct experience of actual places where earth, sea and sky are such vessels of new illumination, echoing inner expanses within us. Vast symbols hover almost unnoticed in veiled atmospheres of nascent light, as archetypal bridges to experience beyond history. The places are Aegean sites of the heroic ages, and the labyrinthian symbols speak of early Minoan forms of civilized vitalism.” - Jay Kloner

Hometown: Hartford, Connecticut
Education: Bachelors, University of Hartford, Connecticut; Masters, Yale University, Connecticut

"Ouranos-Thalassa 78" by Henry Chodkowski,  Acrylic on paper, 8 1:4x11 5:8in, circa

"Ouranos-Thalassa 78" by Henry Chodkowski,  Acrylic on paper, 8 1:4x11 5:8in, circa

"Ouranos-Thalassa 115" by Henry Chodkowski, Acrylic on paper. 22x26in, circa

"Ouranos-Thalassa 115" by Henry Chodkowski, Acrylic on paper. 22x26in, circa

"Ouranos-Thalassa 122" by Henry Chodkowski, Acrylic on paper. 161:4 x 151in, circa

"Ouranos-Thalassa 122" by Henry Chodkowski, Acrylic on paper. 161:4 x 151in, circa

"Ouranos-Thalassa 71" by Henry Chodkowski,  Acrylic on paper, 8.5x12in, circa

"Ouranos-Thalassa 71" by Henry Chodkowski,  Acrylic on paper, 8.5x12in, circa


Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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Painting, Drawing

Vignette: Ray Kleinhelter

A photograph of Ray Kleinhelter at work on his boat (2016).

A photograph of Ray Kleinhelter at work on his boat (2016).

Ray Kleinhelter paints abstract compositions of intricate geometric pattern. Although he cites American Richard Diebenkorn and London’s Frank Auerbach as influences, Kleinhelter’s approach touches upon a variety of 20th century movements, and a viewer might feel as if they are seeing a mash-up of Color Field, Abstract Expressionism and a touch of Pop Art. But such attempts to pigeonhole his work probably wouldn’t be accepted by the artist himself: 

“I am interested in the process, (or craft) of painting, drawing, and printmaking. Every serious painter has a different interpretation of what this means. There are no rules to follow, but what we want are pictures that hold up. No explanation required. Painting in its purest form is much more interesting than any perceived meaning applied to the image. Contemporary interpretations of art, while intellectually compelling, have little to add to the language of painting, where form and content are inseparable.”

"#12" by Ray Kleinhelter, 12x9in, watercolor on Arches hot press paper (2016)

"#12" by Ray Kleinhelter, 12x9in, watercolor on Arches hot press paper (2016)

As with most artists, Kleinhelter began with representational work, and he still sees recognizable form and the natural world at the root of his intensely colored geometric abstracts: 

"Landscape Variation #4" by Ray Kleinhelter, 22.5x30in, charcoal on Stonehenge paper (2016)

"Landscape Variation #4" by Ray Kleinhelter, 22.5x30in, charcoal on Stonehenge paper (2016)

“I continue to draw and paint from nature, lately from my boat, exploring the appearance of land and light. These pictures inform others and act as starting points for improvisation. I rarely stop with one version of an image. In the last year or two, wood cut printing has become a catalyst toward flatter, more direct images. Interestingly, the paintings have changed through the experience of printmaking, moving toward what I believe is a cleaner sense of structure.”

You can visit Ray Kleinhelter on the Ohio River during OPEN STUDIO WEEKEND, November 5 & 6, 2016, where he will be painting on his boat. The event benefits scholarship programs for Louisville Visual Art and University of Louisville’s Hite Art Institute and tickets may be purchased here.

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: Yale School of Art Summer Painting Scholar 1982; BFA, Kansas City Art Institute 1982; MFA, Indiana University, Bloomington 1986
Gallery Representation: Galerie Hertz (Louisville)

"Riverbank #6" by Ray Kleinhelter, 34x40in, oil on panel (2016)

"Riverbank #6" by Ray Kleinhelter, 34x40in, oil on panel (2016)

"Riverbank #1" by Ray Kleinhelter, oil on panel (2016)

"Riverbank #1" by Ray Kleinhelter, oil on panel (2016)

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Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

Please contact    josh@louisvillevisualart.org    for further information on advertising through Artebella.

Please contact josh@louisvillevisualart.org for further information on advertising through Artebella.