Though he is based in New York, Brad Kahlhamer's (Artist in Residence ’16) practice has long been rooted in the West. He grew up in Tucson, where nomadic encounters in the Sonoran desert were some of his earliest creative triggers. Kahlhamer's self-styled “yondering” explorations through Arizona’s landscape of extremes, the Midwest, and New York’s downtown scene have resulted in a body of work comprised of urban street culture, music, cinema, Native American art, and the painterly concerns of West Coast lyrical abstraction. Kahlhamer recently completed a residency at Headlands Center for the Arts and the 2016 Richard Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship Program.
–Courtesy of Headlands Center for the Arts
Image rights: Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery NYC
About Brad Kahlhamer
Brad Kahlhamer draws on his tripartite identity in his art, navigating his Native American heritage, adoptive German-American family, and adult life in New York City’s Lower East Side, where he has lived since 1990. In reference to his Native American history, Kahlhamer works with Hopi katsina dolls, but he deviates from their prescribed histories and uses, reimagining the dolls through a neo-expressionist lens and embellishing them with detritus collected from his neighborhood. Kahlhamer similarly combines established artistic traditions with his own history in his painting practice. The artist references hallmarks of 20th-century abstract painting, notably German expressionism and American neo-expressionism, while incorporating a highly personal iconography and absorbing the artistic milieu of downtown Manhattan.
American, b. 1956