Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Static Shock, 48 inches by 36 inches, oil on canvas, 2017

Aloe Vera, 48 inches by 36 inches, oil on canvas, 2017


My series of striped forms paintings seem to be developing into something where the reference to figuration is just barely there. I'm really excited about them and have been rather obsessed! I'm going to take an actual break now for the holiday season and hopefully, I can pick up that momentum when I get back. In the meantime, I'll show you what I mean and what kind of inspiration I'm drawing from now.

Cecily Brown

Cecily Brown

Arshile Gorky

Arshile Gorky

Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Quotable quotes

Today must not be a souvenir of yesterday, and so the struggle is everlasting. Who am I today? What do I see today? How shall I use what I know, and how shall I avoid being victim of what I know? Life is not repetition. (Robert Henri)

What am I in most people's eyes? A nonentity or an eccentric and disagreeable man... I should want my work to show what is in the heart of such an eccentric, of such a nobody. (Vincent Van Gogh)

I am constantly preoccupied with how to remove distance so that we can all come closer together, so that we can all begin to sense we are the same, we are one. (David Hockney)

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Butterflies in Formation

Butterflies in Formation, 48" by 36". oil on canvas, 2017
Process images of the development of this painting. I take a lot of snaps of my paintings as they develop. I like keeping this kind of record because when you are in the groove, it's hard to remember how you got to where you are.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Into Nothing, 48" by 36", oil on canvas, 2017

Some post-crit thoughts

Because I can't seem to shut my brain off (despite the whiskey-induced hangover), here are some thoughts I'm having about the kind of work I'd like to do this next semester.

I was thinking about a few things my profs said
-the impossibility of seeing
-the structure of looking, seeking pleasure but gives discomfort
-the poetry of the hand
-silence in the pauses (between strokes)

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Pete's Wall

This project was prompted by the statement that all art is political. Using the symbol of the wall, I made a large number of single sheets of horizontal marks (that resemble bricks) and tiled these onto the wall of the Audain Gallery. I thought it would be a sort of parody of the virtuoso painter and the magical gesture of the artist's hand, but when I was installing it, it became more of a shrine or monument to the poetry of the artist's hand. I knew it was going to buzz optically, but it actually kind of hurt to look at; an interesting situation where you want to see it, but it hurts to see it, but it keeps drawing you in.
I received a lot of good feedback from profs and students so it was very gratifying.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Artist Statement 2017: pete's practice

As a more general artist statement, not specific to any series:

Pete Kohut's painting explores the boundaries between representation and abstraction. Using the subject of the body as a jumping off point, Kohut's work seeks to solidify the notion that representation and abstraction are simply tools in a painter's toolbox. In addition, Kohut believes that a painting is not only an image but an object that is charged with energy and is ever-changing. This manifests itself through Kohut's interest in reactive painting (wherein the image is discovered as the painter paints it), gestural mark making, and layering of space and forms.

Monday, November 13, 2017


Lifesaver, 28" by 22", oil on birch plywood panel, 2017

Artist Statement 2017

I'm always at odds with making artist statements. I recognize the importance of explaining in written form the ideas and motivations behind the work, but a) I paint them because I cannot write them and b) writing about them distills the ideas into more definable terms when what I like about art is how un-nameable it can be. Ah well, I guess I like shows and artists grants as much as the next person so I'll play the game ;)
Here's my current stab at trying to articulate myself in written form:

Pete Kohut approaches painting as a way to explore the edges of where figuration ends and abstraction begins. While using the stripe as vehicle for mark-making, Kohut creates images that question our perception of objects in the illusionary space of the flat picture plane. Specific to his current series of paintings, the twisting forms depicted in these images hover at that moment where they are recognizable but not fully resolved, as they collide, compress, and overlap each other. Kohut's attraction to conventional materials of painting ie. oil on canvas or wood panel, acknowledges the tradition of painting but also looks forward to where painting might fit in the contemporary world.

Studio view, wips

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Stripe ed Formes

I've had a few of my colleagues and profs by my studio space in the past week to take a look at these paintings that I've been working on. I'm calling them "striped forms" now instead of striped socks because I don't necessarily want to give away my image source right away.
Everyone I've talked to has been very encouraging and don't see these as too far removed from figuration. In fact, that's an interesting part of the struggle and it may be an aspect that I can exploit ie. throw in a bit of the body back in to reinforce the impact of these paintings.
The forms are twisting and moving in a shallow but highly charged space. It is opaque and transparent, flat but also moves in and out.
The lively colours add to the movement, energy, and freedom in these works.
The next step is to size up one of these to 3' by 4' and then maybe even larger. I'm tempted to try one on canvas again, just because at the larger sizes, wood panels become a little heavy and difficult to move and store. Maybe I can tack the canvas to the wall and that would give me the resistance that I like from the wood panels. Or, I could work on a series of smaller panels and tile them together like I did with my large face paintings.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017