Kuhn’s work demonstrates the juxtaposition of intuition verses strategy, with undulating free formed abstraction alongside fastidious hand-drawn lines. His works are initially made with a fast, energetic motion, which he describes as a natural response that is outside of his control. He then analyses that outcome to create a controlled composition, utilising geometry and manipulating the energy of the paint.
His works balance precariously between the realms of tradition and abstraction, referencing both Abstract Expressionism and Minimalist schools – the fast gestures recall AbEx and Colorfield whilst the rigid, geometric compositions feel very minimalist. In addition, the gradients recall the Southern Californian movement of Light and Space Art and their use of transparent or reflective materials that were at the cutting edge of technology at the time. By using gradients to create light, we see this mimicking the inner light source that illuminates our televisions, computers, tablets, and phones every day. His artistic references create a visual timeline of how fast the technology moves, and how we move and adapt with it.
Despite his attempt to summon the digital world, his handmade, painstaking brushwork shifts between traditional European Art and the contemporary. The gradients could be the product of Photoshop, but the metamorphosis of luminosity characterises the background of a Baroque still life.
The elements of visual trickery are important to Kuhn. Historically, artists aspired to trick the viewer into trompe l’oeil, whereas the modern day viewer assumes such skill is created by digital manipulation. In Kuhn’s work, the viewer is faced with an initial perception of what they think they are experiencing, which changes after reflection; how they are created, is in fact different to how they appear to have been created.
Kuhn’s reverence for paint is reflected in his works, he believes that you can create with paint things that cannot be done in other mediums, that the way we perceive a painting is much more extraordinary than a photo, film or digital media. In seeking to defy the viewer’s expectation, he creates an experience that slows down, questions and filters through the inundation of digital imagery we see every day, whilst remaining innovative and influenced by our technological world.