Kris Kuksi’s works are so intricate; it’s hard to believe they are the creations of a modern artist and not an ancient sculptor. Even so, his work is heavily influenced by ancient art periods: The Rococo and the Baroque strongly color his pieces, with gilded creations that have a mighty, gothic element to them being his strong point. Amalgamation, a new solo exhibit in New York, highlights these works.
Kuksi grew up in Kansas, and with little to stimulate him outside of farm life, he turned to creating worlds in his imagination. He is perhaps best known for his assemblages, where he gathers objects (which range from the mechanical to old toys) sourced from all over the world to create his grand spectacles. They are then hand painted, usually in an aged bone color, to create monochromatic scenes worthy of ancient times.
And his scenes are incredible. Kuksi is fascinated by stories of downfall, often incorporating this theme into his work. Though his pieces are classical in their appearance (featuring subjects reminiscent of Greek and Roman sculpture rather than modern day humans), they are meant to represent the cyclical decay of human society. Beyond their thematic content, they are also incredibly, almost impossibly, detailed. The mixed media of his material choice combine to create scenes that boggle the mind with their complexity. Close examination reveals the unexpected – a mythological centerpiece, reminiscent of a deity, is situated next to items like mechanical spokes, modern building facades, and even a tiny astronaut. All of his works carry a slightly macabre atmosphere to them, something you can’t quite place your finger on.
Kuksi has stated that his works are never planned in advance – he builds them organically, literally balancing them out due to their usually being center heavy. The story reveals itself as he works, resulting in haunting, out-of-this-world creations. You can see the incredible masterpieces of Kris Kuksi for yourself at Joshua Liner Gallery until November 14, 2015.