Christopher Kurtz's thoughtful, studied approach to art-making creates a dialogue about the role of the contemporary artist as a maker of objects. He is a sculptor capable of transforming his primary material of wood into exquisitely crafted objects that often technically quote a part of the history of furniture making while rising against the replacement of the artist by mechanized modes of production. Kurtz’s sculptures are abstracted yet familiar and do not carry specific meanings; however, oftentimes his titles suggest possible narratives that present subjects nevertheless and engage in ongoing conversations about materiality, mechanization and the history of wood in art.
Kurtz’s choice of wood as his medium is less about a passionate connection to the material than it is the right material for the artist’s temperament that is patient and flexible. His engagement with wood is a call and response, a point/counter-point much in the tradition of 20th century masters like Brancusi, Klee, Calder and Giacometti who allowed their mediums to show through and inform the end result. The word “craft” has taken on many, sometimes negative, implications in recent times that suggest inferiority to a higher realm of art. But craft as a tradition has also always implied a certain way of doing things or making things, as well as a lineage or legacy that Kurtz considers deeply in his work. A machine is incapable of producing a certain result but Kurtz's mastery of the material is able to achieve astonishing, elegiac results, triumphing handwork over the multitude of media that dominate the art landscape.
For five years in his early career, Kurtz was the studio assistant to Martin Puryear. During and since that time he has simultaneously developed a critically acclaimed line of furniture and presented his art and design-work in numerous public and private institutions worldwide. His first
Selected Works (11)