31 May - 28 June 2019
Anna Kaplan Contemporary is pleased to announce Philip Kuznicki: Parade, opening on Friday, May 31st with a reception 6-9 pm and remain on view through June 28, 2019. Gallery hours are Wednesday – Friday 11am – 3pm, or Saturday – Tuesday by appointment (contact Anna at 716-604-6183, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org). Parade includes collage and assemblage work by Kuznicki created in the past couple of years after a long pause in the artist’s creative practice. This is the first ever solo presentation of Kuznicki’s work.
There is a palpable sense of the past in Kuznicki’s work— a past that is at once highly personal and universal. He is drawn to estate-sale cast offs— discarded objects that were once loved, everyday objects that are now obsolete, bits of this and that collected over decades. Dozens of small gold rings, hat pins with colorful plastic pearly ends, a hair stylist’s samples to show the color of available dyes, “new old stock” pairs of sheer polyester church gloves, religious statues with cracked parts that previous owners have lovingly repaired, scrabble tiles, specialty light bulbs meant to light an ornate fixture, photographs of individuals now unknown are just a small example of the vast array of objects utilized by Kuznicki. At the center of the installation will be a site-specific altar of sorts. An important part of his creative practice, Kuznicki regularly creates this kind of scene in his studio, which he sees as connected to the practice of domestic religious altars— something that he has never put on view publically. The altar in the gallery functions in the same way as his collage and assemblage work, but is in scale with the human body. A fascinating invasion of the gallery space, Kuznicki’s altar lets the viewer into his thought process in physical space. Objects are placed together in surreal, odd, and sometimes haunting ways. The mundane is transformed and our view of the past is shifted.
There is a surrealist vein that runs through the installation— Max Ernst’s collage work is a definite reference for the artist. There is also a nod to Joseph Cornell in Kuznicki’s use of found objects. The collage work employs black in white imagery from materials that Kuznicki has been carrying around for decades and he continues to mine for inspiration— instructional books, dentist manuals, encyclopedic materials, and much more. The act of collaging for Kuznicki is a way to make sense of and find control in the chaos of life. He explains:
Collage for me has always been a device I’ve used for observing, checking, and keeping a record of the imaginative process. It offers me an opportunity to organize, juxtapose, and touch an inner reality.
Given this is the artist’s first solo show, he is acutely aware of the process. The act of putting the pieces on display in the white cube of the gallery shares much in common with the spectacle of the parade. The hope is that the viewer is intrigued, entertained, and moved.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Philip Kuznicki was born in Dunkirk, NY, where he spent much of his childhood before moving to California in the early 1980s. On the West Coast, Kuznicki worked as an art preparator and fabricator, assisting with work by Ulysses Pagliari, Zaha Hadid, Michael Graves, and many others at the then Philippe Bonnafont Gallery, while also working on his own body of work. He also was involved in fine paper and binding services and was responsible for the original concept and creation of editioned boxes and portfolios for David Gilhooly’s ceramics and prints in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Kuznicki moved to North Carolina, where he was the Director of Riverdog Gallery, before settling in Buffalo in 1999. Kuznicki’s source material for his collage work, has traveled with him all over the country, often taking precedence over what one may consider more necessary. He has continued his creative practice and signature collage style over several decades, more recently with renewed focus and inspiration.
Artists in This Exhibition: