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  • Michael Krueger's Fluorescent West

    Now on view at the Steven Zevitas Gallery...

    Fluorescent West brings together six new works on paper, the largest Krueger has executed to date, as well as his first animation for a gallery exhibition. (Krueger recently contributed fifteen animations to the documentary, Drop City.) There are two notable changes with this body of work: firstly, unlike much of his earlier work, the human figure is now absent, thus making the landscape the sole bearer of content; secondly, while colored pencil continues to be Krueger’s dominant medium, his newest work also utilizes watercolor and acrylic paint.

    In Fluorescent West, Krueger reexamines 19th-Century depictions of the American West through a contemporary lens. The West – its vast physical spaces and mythologized psychological openness - has long been Krueger’s primary subject, along with themes of utopianism, escapism, and hippie culture. In the late 19th-Century, artists such as Thomas Moran and Albert Bierstadt created work that actively sought to glorify the West, and, in many ways, their conception of the West’s wild and wonder continues to inform our innate sense of the region. Krueger simultaneously embraces and questions the myth of the West, and, in doing so, opens up new avenues for understanding it.

    Color has always been an integral part of Krueger’s work. The drawings and animation in Fluorescent West employ the use of unnatural colors and caustic color combinations, which have more in common with contemporary industrial design than nature. If Moran and Bierstadt made use of light to evoke glory and wonder, then, by contrast, Krueger conjures an almost artificial light in his work that, like fluorescent light, can evoke detachment and disorientation. As Krueger states:

    “This use of color and light will create a quick reading of unreality in the works but also, as vivid bright colors do, suggest optimism and a fresh reconsideration of the vistas depicted.”

    Krueger has been an Associate Professor at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, since 2000. Recent solo exhibitions include shows at Packer/Schopf in Chicago (2011), Bennington College (2008), Sunday L.E.S. in New York City (2007) and the Beach Museum of Art in Manhattan, KS (2007). Recent group exhibitions include shows at The Drawing Center in New York City and the Kala Art Institute, both in 2012. Krueger’s work is held in numerous museum collections, including those of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts; the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University; the Kansas City Art Institute; the Denver Museum of Art; and the Nelson-Atkins Museum.

    This is Krueger’s third one-man exhibition at Steven Zevitas Gallery. The artist will be in attendance for an opening reception on Friday, November 2nd from 5:30 – 8:00 PM. For additional information, please contact Steven Zevitas at 617.778.5265 (ext. 22). Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11AM – 5 PM.