Artist Profile: Kurt Wedgley

Artist Kurt Wedgley presents a fascinating portfolio that combines painting and sculpture. We spoke with him about design and execution.

 

"Epsilon" acrylic, 72" x 36" x 2" by Kurt Wedgley. See his artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

“Epsilon” acrylic, 72″ x 36″ x 2″

 

ABI:  What has inspired your art?

KW:  Boredom. I read somewhere that boredom is a good thing as it spurs your imagination to create. As a kid, I was bored a lot. I built many cool things back then. I was bored making and stretching square and rectangular canvases.  I wanted to make some different shaped canvases more three dimensional, and a few days later just happened to go to see an exhibit by Frank Stella. Wow, did that wake something up in me! I studied his canvases intently, visualizing the hidden structures inside.

I built my first sculpted canvas in a week. It sold it soon after.

Boredom has been good for me.

 

"Loose Cube" acrylic, 60" x 48" x 2.5" by Kurt Wedgely. See his artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

“Loose Cube” acrylic, 60″ x 48″ x 2.5″

 

ABI:  You have been called a “space manipulator” – what does that mean to you?

KW:  I used to build sets and props for commercials; our producer called me that phrase after he saw me turn ordinary cinder blocks into faux stone with concrete products to match stonework on his house. To me, it means that I can take any material object, and convert it to something else. I could have made those cinder blocks look like wood or steel, whatever was desired. More accurately would be “mass manipulator” but then all mass occupies space.

 

"Roundabout Way" wooden structure measures 63.5" x 41.5" x 2" by Kurt Wedgley. See his artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

“Roundabout Way” wooden structure measures 63.5″ x 41.5″ x 2″

 

ABI:  How long does it take to create a sculptural painting, and how do you make them?

KW:  A simpler design takes about a week. I pick each piece of lumber for certain properties such as sap content, grain and straightness. I decide on the shape and the foundation of the piece. I design the framework to be very rigid and sustainable. I construct each component in my shop.

 

"Pueblo Errante" acrylic, steel dark background, 69" x 44" x 5" by Kurt Wedgely. See his artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

“Pueblo Errante” acrylic, steel dark background, 69″ x 44″ x 5″

 

After cutting, beveling and sanding the structure, I glue them and screw each piece together. I then lay the whole structure out flat and check it with a straight edge to correct it if needed. If any additional protruding pieces are to be added on, I build an identical shaped counterpart into the framework as well.

 

"Pueblo Errante" (detail shot) by Kurt Wedgley. See his artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

“Pueblo Errante” (detail shot) by Kurt Wedgley

 

For example, in my piece “Pueblo Errante” the welded steel pegs are slipped over large wooden dowels that have an identical shaped counterpart on the back side of the framework. You can pick up the whole artwork by the pegs as it’s very solid, but the canvas is still floating around the pegs. You can push the canvas in with your finger around the pegs. It’s an odd sensation you would not expect.

 

"Pueblo Errante" wooden structure by Kurt Wedgley. See his artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

“Pueblo Errante” wooden structure

 

I want as much floating canvas as possible. I mean, I could just stretch canvas over a plywood cutout to achieve the same look, or for that matter not even use canvas at all, just paint on plywood. But no, there is something about the look and feel of a canvas painting. This is about taking canvas stretching and construction to other levels. To see how far I can go with it. Each piece teaches me something new. I already have several new cutting, folding and stapling techniques I have developed. I actually had to make a tool to get staples into tight areas. It’s quite a process that is not apparent to the casual viewer.

 

"Way Station" acrylic, 60" x 48" x 2.5" by Kurt Wedgley. See his artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

“Way Station” acrylic, 60″ x 48″ x 2.5″

 

Then comes the painting. Another painstaking process where each piece gets around a dozen versions created on Photoshop before I decide.

Then with acrylics, I paint with hard edges using masking tape. I don’t like brushstroke marks, so I developed a technique where I work the paint after brushing when semi-dry. It comes out lightly textured or like leather, and I love the effect. It pulls you in and you just want to run your fingers over it.

 

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Comments

  1. Kurt Wedgley’s work is amazing! I especially love “LOOSE CUBE”.

  2. Dawn Griffith says:

    I’ve never seen this done before and I am so crazy about every piece!
    This is an artist that I am definetly keeping my eye on!

    • Hi Dawn,
      There are a few people that do this type of work. I would love to say making
      free form style canvases was my idea!, but it has been around for awhile.
      I’m very happy with all the positive responses from art lovers out there!
      Thank you for your interest

  3. Lillian says:

    Kurt, you are truly the mad scientist of canvas building, absolutely gorgeous!

  4. What a wonderful opportunity to share your timeless pieces and how they come from an idea to reality. I know the heart and soul that you put into each painting and I’m always at awe of your creativity. Congratulations!

  5. Ann Stephens says:

    “It pulls you in and you just want to run your fingers over”. An artist who wants you to touch the creation. Art sometimes not only needs to be admired but felt. Great artist with an insightful creativeness.

  6. I believe art is to be admired with all your senses. If you touch it, you get a sense of what the artist
    was feeling at that moment.
    I once had to feel the signature carved into the back of a Rodin sculpture. I received a stern lecture
    from the museum attendant.

  7. Tara Moore says:

    Mind blown, I need to see more!

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