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Arts in Milwaukee

A Public Service Of Milwaukee Artist Resource Network

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  • “Berlin Metro Stop”Berlin Metro Stop

    Part of a series of paintings from Bridging the Gap (from realism to abstraction) of 2010. This particular image was juried into The Abstract Show at The Brickton Art Center, Park Ridge, Illinois, July, 2012.

Ron Kosek

  • Art
  • Design
I am an Art Professional I am a Design Professional

artist bio

Realistic and Non-representational drawings, watercolor and acrylic paintings, printmaking, collage, assemblage plus sculpture and photography.

Designing or redesigning, kitchens, bathrooms, storage and other interiors spaces.

Landscape and gardening design.

Organizing working environments and living spaces.

artist statement

Mondrian, Nicholson, Schwitters, Seurat, Hopper and Colville nourished my love of compositional arrangement. Dissecting a work’s underlying structure always gave me a sense of reassurance and a feeling of stability. Then in 1977 I saw the work of Richard Diebenkorn for the first time. My thirst expanded and I began wanting to use color and paint differently. How could a minimal, hard-edged, non-representational artist, like me, learn to use color and paint in a way that makes viewers want to pick the painting up and “eat it”?

I searched every painting I viewed and in the 1990s I began to make some headway. The years of searching, looking, assimilating did have an impact. Then while attending a summer course at Haystack in Maine, I had an “ah ha, moment”! This pivotal happening occurred while working on the print, Tri-umph! I finished the print, hung it next to the trial sheet I used for testing colors. The trial sheet was dynamite! It was free, vibrant, unrestrained and on its way to being “luscious”. Was this the way to go? How do artists get there? Viewing oeuvres of various artists I noticed some moved from realism to abstraction by manipulating their realistic drawing and painting. My subsequent realistic work didn’t lead me where I hoped to go. How could I find the way? I decided the only way was to “do it”. Paint whatever came out of my being and keep moving forward. During 1999 and 2000 I produced 2 series of work on paper (15 images in each). Emotionally charged and full of energy they are described by this quote from Georgia O’Keeffe “I find that I have painted my life –things happening in my life–without knowing.” A beginning, but not exactly where I wanted to be.

Then as a teaching tool I started a new series of 13 paintings. Collage, (I used start-up images from a HP Laser printer glued to 20” X 26” pieces of paper) tissue paper, fabric, found objects, gesso, transparent paint, thick impasto, drawing in with graphite and colored pencils, students and teacher created together. Sharing ideas and experimenting gave us the opportunity to see paintings develop. Ah, but what about the structure I always loved so much? I began adding it on top of what was there. Another moved forward. Keep going.

During a European trip (a retirement gift to myself) I collected photographic images for their structural impact, imagining them as first steps in a series of abstract paintings I would produce once I came home. Those 15 photos became the series Bridging the Gap (from realism to abstraction). Another step forward. Now what? Re-reading Working Space, lectures Frank Stella delivered in 1983-84 at Harvard, I am discovering new avenues to explore. Stella points our that Caravaggio’s ability to create space, spread light and create a sense of reality throughout a painting is one remedy for the “awkward position” painting stands in today. Taking Stella’s advice and looking closely at Caravaggio I venture forward in the hope that my work using these recommendations is rewarding