2013 International Art Festival

Artist Official Entries

Phil Kauffman

Encinitas CA USA
I am torn between two dramatically opposed visual art forms; abstraction and realism. My current work is in abstracts and portraits, which are the titles of the albums in the “Gallery” section of my website: www.kauffmansart.com. In the world of abstraction, I am intrigued with distorting objects to produce images that are thought-provoking and, hopefully, beautiful. This distortion could easily be called “Anti-cubist”. Let me explain. Cubism starts with an easily recognizable figure, such as a human head or body and transforms the many curves in that figure into different planes that render the original figure difficult or impossible to recognize. Anti-cubism is the reverse of this process because it starts out with an image composed of many planes, such as an urban scene, and transforms the many planes into multiple curves that form flowing, abstract figures that can only be partially recognized with great difficulty as an urban scene, or not at all. The images thus produced resemble blown glass, molten lava or liquid metal. My curiosity attracts me to engineering or scientific challenges. Among them, I have been enthralled by string theory. I don’t really know anything about string theory, in spite of having read a couple of books on the subject, but I am very intrigued by the idea of going beyond three dimensions, or four, if you count time as a dimension, and string theory calls for ten or more dimensions. These ‘extra’ dimensions are mostly spins or curls that go from right to left, from up to down, from in to out or any one direction to the other. These ‘curls’ are responsible for my development of the idea of distorting the realistic planes of a cityscape into abstract patterns. A clockwise curl can be applied to the top half of a skyscraper, for instance, followed by a counter-clockwise curl applied to the bottom half to produce an “S” shaped object. Repeating this process many times and going into greater and greater detail is how I arrive at my “anti-cubist” images which are flowing, molten, multi-dimensional interpretations of what started out as plain and stark reality. The tool used for much of the production of these paintings is the greatest instrument man has ever devised for the visual arts; the computer. I started out using computers as an aid to my traditional art. As computers evolved and became more powerful and as art software improved and expanded to provide greater functionality my use of computers expanded from simply planning a painting to executing more and more of the painting itself, using less and less traditional media and tools. In parallel, printing technology grew by leaps and bounds to the point where it is now possible to faithfully print an image on canvas with archival inks to achieve lifetimes greater than a century. Soon, it should be economical to print in 3D to render not only shape and color, but brushwork texture itself. The other visual art form that thrills me is realism. Throughout my artistic life I have been fascinated by feminine beauty and almost all my canvases depict stunning women in a realistic or sometimes photo-realistic style, often with other elements in the background. The “Portraits” album contains portrait images (of beautiful women, of course) that have been produced at very different stages of my artistic career. From simple and very straightforward realistic depictions using oil or oil and acrylics, to the subtler and more ethereal renditions that I am currently doing, using the king of all art tools, the computer, often combined with acrylics for the final, finished touch, my newer portraits combine a realistic depiction of a beautiful woman, often blending into a cityscape which permeates the portrait to produce a dreamlike, or ghostlike, impression. My “Nostalgia” album is populated with realistic female subjects that are often combined with other realistic, surrealistic, expressionistic or even abstract elements to produce gothic compositions that invite viewers to create a story that the painting in question is narrating with its imagery. Typically, the media used is oil, sometimes accompanied by acrylics and almost always on canvas. This album dates back to the 1990’s and the last brush stroke in this series is now, I’m fairly sure, history. The “Geometrica” album plays with geometrical figures. Some are poligons with straight sides and some are curves and they fit together like a puzzle. The media used is acrylics, mostly on Gatorboard although there are some images that were done on canvas and a few that used oils after the acrylics were applied. Also, some of the recent work in this album uses the computer to produce a Giclee print and then acrylic is used over the print to enhance it. The “Encore” album revisits some of the images created in “Nostalgia”, but without some of the story-telling elements. The media now is digital instead of oil and the purpose of the entire series is to experiment with digital techniques.
© Phil Kauffman | Cologne 3402
2013 Mixed Media | Cologne
Acrylic over Giclee, 32"W x 24"H, 2013
© Phil Kauffman | Diane 3403
2013 Mixed Media | Diane
Acrylic over Giclee, 36"W x 27"H, 2013
© Phil Kauffman | Bianca 3404
2013 Mixed Media | Bianca
Acrylic over Giclee, 36"W x 27"H, 2013
© Phil Kauffman | Customs House Boston 3405
2013 Mixed Media | Customs House Boston
Acrylic over Giclee, 24"W x 36"H, 2012