Dennis Kardon

1 – I first met Harry at the High Falls home of Gary Stephan and Suzanne Joelson, at the same time that I first met Catherine Murphy, which must have easily been 20 years ago. Then many years later we had a conversation at Peter Schjeldahl’s Fourth of July fireworks gathering, which was perhaps ten years ago

2 -Artist Statement

From 1996 until the present I have been developing a series of paintings that most people see as being narrative in character. Really though, there is no story in this work except the eccentric history of the process of painting them. I usually start from nothing. Just a series of random gestures, and through re-contextualizing these gestures, layer upon layer a representational image is born. The result is a product of my knowledge of the history of painting, experience, psychology, and fantasy. I want each painting to exist on a spectrum from abstraction to vivid representation, always disintegrating into paint upon close examination.

Until recently I have used the still life genre to subvert the connection of painting to the real world. Lately I have been also using the technology of the Ipad to further investigate ideas about representing everyday life. The major ideas that animate this work concern the quotidian moments of daily life as seen through the distorting medium of painting. Crystal forms, reflective surfaces, sculptures, and ice, all serve as metaphors for the way painting offers a vision of daily life that is distorted by subconscious desires and urges.

All of these approaches have made me curious about the way artists construct an idea of their artistic self. I find I no longer need to search for threads of continuity between my paintings. Continuity always occurs, though not in an obviously logical way, but due to the consciousness that painted them. All the paintings do have in common a sense of constructed space. I use this space to enable contradictory ideas of representation to exist on the same canvas.

I have found that the self is not a discrete entity but an ever-expanding series of events performed by a single person in a cultural context, which only becomes fully integrated upon the death of the artist. This is the only narrative that holds my interest. Each painting is a new test of the idea of freedom.


- December 10, 2013


Curriculum Vitae


Tempus Fugit 2012, oil/linen, 30 x 36 inches