Chris Kahler
Lives and works in Illinois

Artist's videos on the YouTube BDG Channel Playlist YouTube Playlist

Chris Kahler's unruly abstractions evoke the insatiable and unrepentant appetites of nature. The protean surfaces of his painting's seem to enact the elemental processes of birth, struggle, and adaption, making each canvas an arena of natural selection, each layer of pigment a new mutation consuming the last. This pathological process finds myriad parallels in the living world, resonating on both microscopic and cosmic levels. Without any fixed context, Kahler's paintings become metonyms for any system under attack, proliferating with wider biological, technological, and cultural implications. Pustules, tendrils, tissues, and other corporeal allusions can still be ascertained, but paint is now the true protagonist. Insistent-and at times, impatient-the liquid medium appears to gestate on the picture plane, generating the seething forms, corrupting hues, and decaying structures that give substance and life to these works. Paint is made purposeful throughout the paintings. Their meaning is embedded within, and inseparable from, their viscous surfaces. Paint begets illusion not by description, but by its chemical and physical reality. Aesthetics are beside the point. Beauty occurs at random, a residual effect of the medium in delicate and dynamic tension.

Chris Kahler received his BFA at Ohio Wesleyan University in 1991. Within his junior year of college, he spent a semester abroad at Parson's School of Art And Design and the American University in Paris, France. He then went on for an MA at Eastern Illinois University and an MFA from Northwestern University in 1995. He is currently a Professor at Eastern Illinois University.

back to artist page