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I am respectful of the authority of geometry and the certainty of pure form.

I avoid the absolute.

I am intrigued with the idea of humiliation and disgrace.

I am interested in works that have a flavor of the inevitable.

I don’t want to have the final say about the form of a work—better to remain the instigator.

I find all movement in my work toward sea level.


-Artist Statement, 1968

Excerpts from George Segal on Gary Kuehn, 1992


"Artists who don’t fit comfortably into art historical categories have a terrible time. Gary Kuehn’s first show in 1965 included bundles of real twigs fastened by impossibly thick steel bands held by equally massive bolts. At first glance, they looked like abstract sculpture. Then the poetic metaphor sensations started flooding: the twigs felt like fragile, vulnerable living bodies helplessly imprisoned by implacable relentless forces. I was charmed and attracted by the contradictions and rule breaking in Gary’s work, so similar to the ferment I was so used to at the Green Gallery.


"There is a disquieting sculpture of three headless dogs connected with a triangle of metal rods that provokes unanswerable questions about decimation, punishment, brutality, decadence, and brainless sensation, flow of life and spirit, loss of reason and despair. The headless animals, connected by the heavy unyielding geometric triangle, seem to refer to some vague, obscure, implacable hierarchy, buried in clouds of myth, but always, somehow, referring to personal forces in the artist’s life.


"This may be a key to looking at Kuehn’s work. At first glance, the language he uses seems that of rigorous abstraction, a rumination on basic geometric shapes: circle, square, triangle. Immediately, the contradictions appear: these cerebral, weightless shapes are translated into heavy, tangible reality, then, into their three dimensional equivalents and worldly allusions to ship’s buoys, obelisks, pyramids, then the shocking inclusion of objects from the tangible world: chairs, ladders, pick-axes, massive wood bases. Increasingly, they suggest metaphors for the internal state of mind of the artist. Arbitrarily, Kuehn has bent a contemporary language of geometric abstraction, added a variety of modern industrial materials, recognizable found objects, to make a remarkable, extended self portrait: himself as organic and vulnerable, bent and shaped by unnamed but powerful forces."


-The Francis J. Greenburger Foundation Awards. 1992

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