Michael Kessler

Michael Kessler (b. 1954) has established himself in the global contemporary art world with an impressive career that has spanned decades. Growing up on a farm in Pennsylvania, Kessler was first exposed to fine art through the works of Andrew Wythe. He continued to draw throughout his youth, inspired by the surrounding nature, which led him to pursue a BFA from Kutztown University (Pennsylvania).

Each work consists of as many fifty thin layers of translucent and transparent acrylic. Biomorphic tendrils branch through the compositions, balancing nature's sinuous curves with a mindfulness of structure. He likens the gestural freedom in his works to a kind of painterly "tai chi" (a visible expression of a line of energy) and imbues his structural motifs with a sense of play and buoyancy. Like the yin and yang, the organic and geometric elements in his paintings speak not of dichotomy, but of integration.

Living and working in Santa Fe and Southern Utah, Kessler’s works often reflect the organic forms of nature. Branches, trees, leaves, and cellular forms are often used to ground his compositions. This creates a meditative and visually intriguing juxtaposition that references Kessler’s deep appreciation for the natural world. 

Kessler is a Pollock/Krasner Award recipient (1992) and has exhibited his work in solo and group exhibitions around the world. His work is found in over twenty-five museum permanent collections throughout the US, most notably the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston, MA), The New Museum of Contemporary Art (New York, NY), and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco, CA). Alongside numerous private collections, Kessler’s work is also showcased in corporate collections such as Exxon Mobil (Houston, TX), Bank of Japan (New York, NY), and PepsiCo (Camden, NJ), among others.

"Michael Kessler invites such synesthetic hyperbole through a process of deformulation. He restricts his vocabulary to certain subjects and certain forms, then breaks down those forms and subjects by running them into and through one another. In musical terms, it is a formidable polyphony - a polyphony felt with an immediacy that transcends, or more to the point breaks through, metaphorical equivalency. You do hear them with your eyes." - Peter Frank, American Art Critic