Thursday March 24th 7pm-9pm
We are pleased to present our featured artist for March, Kurt Oskar Weber (1938 – 2011). Co-curator, Katherine Cook, trustee of the late artist’s work, brings us original oils from a period of time when the Swiss born artist lived and painted in Emeryville, CA.
Boundless is a reference to the artist’s creative nature and expression. Weber attacked his canvasses with bombastic gestures which reflected his own struggles. The demons of alcohol, failed love affairs and financial uncertainty were ever present companions. The only antidote to crippling depression was to paint. So, with a cigarette in one hand and a shot of tequila in the other, he feverishly painted until the mania exhausted him into a troubled sleep.
He travelled extensively and derived great inspiration spanning the open spaces of the American landscape to the acute angles of the Aztec temples. His early oil paintings are done partly in Europe and the United States. These works are characterized by greys with umber and blue intonations as well as from massive form constructions. Human forms made from tubes and steel cubes reference his themes of the human condition which has been devastated by monotonous work and debilitating environmental forces. On the other hand, landscapes are enhanced with light and color which seem to point to the direction of resurrection and life affirming beauty.
Kurt Oskar Weber was a restless wanderer. Although respected and well-regarded in the US, hardly any one in Europe knew the painter from Zurich. A retrospective may now change that.
Weber’s defining characteristic was his unbridled passion. Both with regard to himself and his painting. An eternally driven nomad, fleeing from himself, his art and his actions. And from the women, whom he loved more than anything else. His own and those of others. “I have always wanted to be different somehow.” he said in a 2009 interview. “Because I have always run away, probably because I was so bored with myself. “I never wanted to be where I happened to be at the moment”. New York, California, Mexico, Paris and Basel were Weber’s most important stops.
His disregard, his passion and arrogance, his intelligence and his talent would, at times, lead to a destructive mixture of aggression and fear. “He had a fear of failure as a painter”, says Schütz. Its origin, he thinks, is due to Weber’s wealth of knowledge about painting and his ongoing confrontation with the major artists of his century. It was however always an adventure to discuss painting and art history with Weber. In these discussions, Weber’s decades-long analysis of the European painting tradition would become apparent. “From the Middle Ages to 1960: It would be hard to find a painter that Kurt Weber had not studied”, relates Schütz.
A style that defies labeling
ln 2009, the art historian Susanne Schröter wrote this about Kurt Weber: Weber’s work looks back upon a rich artistic past at the epicenter of which is an intensive analysis of abstract painting. At the same time, his oeuvre reflects the history of abstract painting over the last four decades. After searching for many years, Weber ultimately found his own, free style, which defies labeling and affiliation. From June 3rd until August 26th, Galerie S/Z in Uerikon is presenting a retrospective of this major Swiss artist who is almost unknown in this country. Additionally, please visit the Galerie S/Z website where you can also obtain an overview of Kurt Weber’s works.
Co-Curator of the exhibit, Katherine Cook, is the founder of World Access to Art and the former executive director of San Francisco Open Studios. She is the author of published art criticism and reviews, including co-authoring a catalog with Dr. Peter Selz on the Chinese artist Gu Wenda.
For more information on this exhibit, call Jennifer Perlmutter Gallery 925-284-1485. Private tours of the extensive collection housed in a private residence in Walnut Creek can be arranged. Gallery Hours for this exhibit, March 24 – April 23 Tues. – Sat. 11-5 and by appointment.