“I think of paintings as objects-one of-a-kind visual and sculptural objects.”
When his professor at L.A’s Otis Art Institute/Parsons School of Design, Emerson Woelffer, told him, “If you have an idea, execute it; work first and think later,” Ken Kamindsi took the advice to heart. Like Woelffer, Kaminski is a Chicago native and a powerful, prolific abstract expressionist with a lasting commitment to aesthetic vitality and compositional excellence.
In Kaminski’s early work, one can see the influence of Pollock, Kline, de Kooning and especially Robert Rauschenberg, whom he met through Woeffler. They had taught together at Black Mountain College, an experimental art school in North Carolina, at the invitation of visionary architect Buckminster Fuller. Both Woeffler’s abstract surrealism and Rauschenberg’s pop art “combines” (colleges) show clearly in Kaminski’s paintings, thick with layers of paint, commanding compositions and uncompromising color.
Never tentative or delicate, Kaminski’s early work develops a distinctive expressive vocabulary, embracing life, art and ideas with confidence. He always put himself at the center of the art world, from early days exploring the Art Institute/Parsons School of Design in Los Angeles and a long stay in New York City, where he was in 2001 when the world Trade Center came down.
In his most recent work, Kaminski looks up. Literally. He has taken more than 5,000 photographs of sky and clouds and fields, transmuting these images via their essential geometry, massing haystacks like the masses of building that once filled his paintings. His haystack paintings achieve visual depth and perspective through an energetic juxtaposition of lines and a brilliant, bold use of color, light and shadow.
The gestural, heavily textured approach to abstract painting we see in Kaminski stretches from his early work to the most recent paintings. It reminds us to look up, to see the ever-changing complexities of nature as well as the complexities of the built environment and of our human communities, and to treasure the ability of paint and canvas to inform and enrich our lives.