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Kevin Muente: Promised Land
March 14 - April 13, 2024

Opening

6-9 pm, Thursday, March 14

Artist Talk
1-2 pm, Saturday, March 23

Closing
1-4 pm, Saturday, April 13

About the Artist

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Kevin Muente received his BFA in drawing and painting from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1994 and his MFA in painting from the University of Cincinnati in 1999. He has exhibited his paintings internationally and has garnered several awards and honors including the Kentucky Arts Council’s Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship, Cincinnati Summerfair Aid to Individual Artist Grants, and multiple artist residencies. He currently holds the rank of full professor of art at Northern Kentucky University.

Artist Statement

The stories I tell speak to the soul. We may not know who these characters are, but we still connect to their problems, and desires. We empathize with them. Their world helps us to examine our world. Expressions, gestures, and narratives frozen on the canvas heighten the suspense and are never fully resolved. The landscape and its eternal presence surrounds the figures and offers a freshness lacking from much narrative art. Like a film director, I scope out environments that will heighten the drama of the characters involved, giving my paintings an almost cinematic quality. On occasion, animals play a vital role in man's attachment to nature and act in a supporting role to complicate the narrative. My obsession with particular elements of the landscape, such as leaves, branches, ripples, and stones, helps communicate the magical unbelievability of a place both figuratively and metaphorically. By paying attention to the noises, smells, and changes in light and temperature my paintings reaffirm a sense of place for the viewer. I work from life, from photographs and from invention to hopefully awaken the viewer’s soul. I paint with oils, and channel the drama of artists from the past who have heroized the figure, such as Jean-Francois Millet, Caspar David Friedrich, and Winslow Homer. Figures within a pivotal situation secure a sense of the grand mythic qualities that nature rarely reveals but are relevant to us all. In this way, landscape becomes a vehicle for expressing the human condition sometimes as much as the figures themselves.

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