American artist Wyatt Kahn's works tread the line between the two and three dimensional, reflecting on the tradition of minimalist abstraction while playing with material, spatiality, and the intersection of painting and sculpture.Read More
Wyatt Kahn was born in 1983 in New York. He received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2006 and an MFA from Hunter College, New York in 2012.
Wyatt Kahn is notable for his abstracted explorations into the visual and spatial relationship between sculpture and painting. These wall-mounted works translate lines and shapes into three dimensional manifestations and components. Each part of Kahn's canvas works are made and stretched individually, allowing for multiple permutations and combinations.
Often working with monochromatic palettes, Kahn refers to his works as 'paintings' despite not being painted on or using any external pigments. While appearing to be traditional images mounted on the wall, Kahn plays with the dichotomy of sculpture and painting by imbibing structural qualities into his work through his choice of material, negative spaces, and configurations. Assembled and bolted together, these three-dimensional components create a two-dimensional image, in which the gaps between forms appear as lines on the canvas.
Kahn's paintings have referenced the tradition of minimalist abstraction in their geometric compositions, simplicity, and ambiguity. These works, while often composed of simple geometric shapes such as triangles and lines, have also integrated human features or parts, such as a foot in Weighted Him (2017), a hand in Sideways Pressure (2018), and limbs in Sam (2015).
Prior to creating his paintings, Kahn typically begins his series' in sketches which are then refined into prototype drawings. These drawings are then transferred onto wood which are cut and tailored to each artwork.
Kahn has extensively used unprimed linen and canvas stretched over wooden frames to create his signature 'paintings'. He has also experimented with differing layers of canvas to increase and play with its colour and opacity. Apart from linen, Kahn has also experimented with lead sheets, reflecting on the hazardous qualities of the material, as well as its emotional quality, invoking a solemn and dark feeling.
In the past, Kahn has also built new works by combining or amalgamating several of his older pieces.
Wyatt Kahn has held solo exhibitions at Rosenfeld Art Projects, Los Angeles (2018); Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Italy (2016); Performa Biennial, New York; and Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, USA (both 2015).
His work has been included in group exhibitions at Fondazione di Piacenza e Vigevano, Italy (2020); the Whitechapel Gallery, London (2017); and Dallas Museum of Art, Texas (2014). Kahn's paintings have been collected by major institutions such as the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art; Centre Pompidou; and Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles.
Arianna Mercado | Ocula | 2022