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Roger Kukes, Exhibition 2005

Roger Kukes, Exhibition 2005

Roger Kukes, Exhibition 2005
Roger Kukes, Exhibition 2005
Augen Gallery, December–2005. Photos by Rick Regan

Artist's Statement

"The Theater of the Land"

This new work marks a continued shift away from a personal mythic vision toward a more recognizable rendering of the American west, its geography, characters, and history (all filtered through my wacky personal lens).

The more I live in it (the west), explore it, think about it, the more it captivates my vision and excites my imagination. Have you ever stood next to a bison? Watched lightning start a forest fire? Smelled sulfur gurgling up from a mud pot? Read Howard Zinn on the Federal government’s treatment of native peoples?

The first thing I think of when I think of the west is “the land:” big spaces, infinite variety. Consequently, I’ve conceived the land as a sort of stage upon which my “characters” strut their stuff: erupting volcanoes, injured nuclear cooling towers, hungry wolves, animated cacti, personified trees, vengeful Indians, powerful locomotives....and on and on.

Since I’m not a traditional story teller, and not terribly interested in linearity, I’ve taken a lot of liberties with time, and with characters, objects, artifacts–how they “enter the work”, interact, recur, meet their fates, exit and so on. Language, too has nudged its way into the mix, periodically commenting on the “action,” amplifying the mood of a particular place or waxing philosophical. I suspect the linguistic impulse will continue to assert itself, speak from a variety of points of view and make its voice better known in future pieces.

Roger Kukes
Portland, Oregon 2005