Cynthia Kukla - Separating the Earth from the Heavens
The Edward A. Dixon Gallery presents a solo art exhibition filled with ancient beauty interpreted with contemporary style from artist and art critic, Cynthia Kukla.
In this carefully curated body of Cynthia's artwork, she folds ancient, diasporic histories into contemporary painting spaces using experimental color combinations and layered references drawn from ancient history. She carefully weaves into this pantheon of figures and ruins subtle references to contemporary political events. On viewing some of her color tableaux in pinks, golds and Aegean blues, we are transported back to the ancient Mediterranean from where she selects most of her imagery. Other paintings deploy eye-popping contemporary color combinations;
Kukla sees the past and present as one continuous cloth. A quote she sometimes references is "The Ancient Celts spoke of "thin places" and "thin times"-when the veil between heaven and earth is worn thin, where the temporal and the transcendent seem to touch." She creates mesmerizing overlays of architectural sites and ruins, like the Parthenon site or temples in Magna Graecia that function as visual anchors for the dramas and narratives of historic as well as contemporary figuration – from the myths of Aphrodite and achievements of Alexander the Great to riveting contemporary icons like Marilyn Monroe. By selecting celebrated icons from the past, Kukla gives us paintings that celebrate their continued power and meaning in our present. The Apollo and Artemis space missions, whose names we take for granted, are named for the twin god and goddess –Apollo and Artemis - by NASA aerospace engineers who looked far back in time to the ancient Greeks to celebrate our 20th and 21st century exploration of the heavens. Kukla demonstrates that even the ancient past remains inspirational and alive with meaning now. With her art, she asks us not to take these rich connections from our collective ancestors for granted.
These powerfully recognized images are then layered with symbolic imagery, like Kukla's interpretation of the ancient lotus, plant motifs from Greek vase painting, constellations and ancient maps. Sometimes there are unexpected bursts of collage, Swarovski crystals, even pompoms. Kukla states. "I want to give the viewer a rich visual experience to which the historical references add depth and dimension."
Cynthia Kukla, a Chicago native, received her BFA in Painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, under Ray Yoshida, and MFA in Painting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since graduate school Cynthia has exhibited paintings, watercolors, drawings and sculptures in curated museum exhibits on four continents, in over fifty solo shows and nearly three-hundred curated or group exhibitions.
The Edward A. Dixon Gallery is currently hosting a collaborative show of vintage artwork and décor which ends May 27th. The opening Reception for Cynthia Kukla's solo art exhibition "Separating the Earth from the Heavens" will be held on June 2nd from 6pm-9pm. The exhibition runs from June 2nd thru July 15th. Hours are posted on the gallery's website.
About the Edward A. Dixon Gallery
The gallery is located in Downtown Dayton at 222 N. St. Clair Street - Dayton, OH 45402. The gallery's website is shop.eadgallery.com and features updates on hours of operations, new art and exhibitions.