Kim Foster Gallery is pleased to announce “Pardon The Interruption, Please,” its first solo exhibition of sculptural works by Will Kurtz. He is an anomaly in the NY art scene who uses standard “classic” techniques to mold, form and breathe life into his human and animal subjects. Newspaper, wood, wire, plaster gauze, tape and glue are magically transformed like alchemy into working people. “Mans” best friend appears often in his art, with their masters or in small groups, doing what dogs do, acting as dogs act. You never know what will appear around a corner or in a separate space.
Much has been written about the shock and awe of experiencing his street people and tagless dogs. At first one is taken aback by the presence of “the great unwashed” in a white walled gallery space attended by aesthetically aware, culturally complex viewers. But wait! Upon further inspection these everyday, blue-collar types, are not threatening! They are going about their business, doing their jobs, not concerned in the least about the visitors. It is as if we don’t exist.
Mr. Kurtz is a rare talent in these times. He is highly aware of the anatomical structure of his subjects and understands how they move and communicate. He imparts a dignity. Each one is unique and non-idealized. For example, his “Partners” may at first look like any cop, but they have distinct personalities. She is acutely zoned in on something, unwilling to break her line of sight. The male cop is also focused in the same direction, however his gaze is slightly different – attentive but wary. Kurtz’s ability to capture small, almost imperceptible variations in behavior is more the domain of a painter. And paint he does. His application of specific colors, lettering and shapes lifted from the newspaper is a precision akin to a surgeon’s use of a scalpel.
Will Kurtz likes to amuse and tease the viewer. With a cacophony of imagery, he employs varying degrees of caricature from Daumiere to neo-realism. At times one is not sure how to read his works. He is keeping us on our toes. To get the full impact of his work, one has to clear the mind and forget about precedents, influences and anything else that may ruin the experience.