Kurt Meer

As an art student at the University of Memphis, Kurt Meer says he was profoundly affected by the theories of Whistler. “I have adopted Whistler’s comparison of painting to music,” he says. “Color is like a keyboard where there is a root key or color harmony within which there are a variety of chords created by playing opposites against one another, such as warm and cool, saturated and unsaturated. All of these build to a tension that is resolved by returning to the root harmony.”

Whistler found one means of expressing his theories in a series of works depicting the River Thames at night. For Meer, the Mississippi River that flows through his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, is the inspiration. “For several years I worked in downtown Memphis and watched the changing face of the river throughout the seasons, in times of drought and flooding, and under varied lighting conditions, including sunrise and sunset. I came to know its subtleties, and while the rivers in my paintings are imaginary abstractions of water, sky and vegetation shapes, they undoubtedly go back to my memory of the Mississippi and its fast-moving energy.”

Unlike the vigor of the Mississippi, Meer says his goal is to convey tranquility and to create images that become “points of meditation … like seeing water in the early morning when it is still and glasslike.” In many ways his archetypal bodies of water are both timeless as well as indicators of time, affirming what Heraclitus stated, “You cannot step twice into the same river, for other waters are continually flowing in.”

The harmony he achieves through color echoes in Meer’s compositions. “I use ancient principles of architecture and geometry, both Western and Eastern, in sizing my panels and composing within that space,” he says. Meer has also started to finish the paintings with a veneer of wax. “Wax is archival and both permanent and removable. It results in just the type of surface sheen and depth that unifies the colors,” he says.

Meer has just a passing memory of having studied the theories of Carl Jung, but one can readily imagine in the landscapes Jung’s notion that water symbolizes the unconscious and a revelation of the shadow side. As the philosopher noted in The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, “The dreamer, thirsting for the shining heights, has first to descend into the dark depths,” where there is “no inside and no outside, no above or below, no here or there…. It is the world of water where all life floats in suspension: where the realm of the sympathetic system, the soul of everything living begins; where I am indivisibly this and that: where I experience the other in myself and the other-than-myself experiences me.”

Kurt Meer

Born: Fort Worth, TX 1968

Education:

1998-2000 Graduate work, painting, University of Memphis
1996 BFA Graphic Design, University of Memphis
1994-95 Painting & Photography Studies, Memphis College of Art


Solo Exhibitions:

2008 Distant Lands, Karan Ruhlen Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2007 The Quiet Pallette, Karan Ruhlen Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2006 The Still Surface, Karan Ruhlen Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2005 Solitude, Cumberland Gallery, Nashville, TN
Something of Our Common Feeling, Marshal Arts, Memphis, TN
Kurt Meer, Perry Nicole Gallery, Memphis, TN
2003 Kurt Meer- Vergessen: Perry Nicole Gallery, Memphis, TN


Group Exhibitions:

2013 The Modern Landscape, Karan Ruhlen Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2012 Lay of the Land, Karan Ruhlen Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
Fall Preview: New Works, Karan Ruhlen Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2011 Tour of Homes, ARTFeast annual event, Santa Fe, NM
Eighteenth Annual Red Show, Karan Ruhlen Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2010 Annual Red Show, Karan Ruhlen Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2009 Masters of the Landscape Three Person Show, Karan Ruhlen Gallery,
Santa Fe, NM
Seeing Red Group Exhibition, Karan Ruhlen Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2008 The Small Show, Karan Ruhlen Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2007 AAF Contemporary, Metropolitan Pavilion, New York
Seeing Red, Karan Ruhlen Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2006 Body Language, Karan Ruhlen Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
AAF Contemporary, Metropolitan Pavilion, New York
Inner Space, Karan Ruhlen Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
ARTScottsdale, Scottsdale, AZ
The Power of Red, Santa Fe, NM
2005 Affordable Art Fair, Karan Ruhlen Gallery, Pier 92, New York
ARTScottsdale, Scottsdale, AZ
Referencing Nature, Karan Ruhlen Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
Grand Opening, L Ross Gallery, Memphis TN
Together, paintings by Kurt Meer & Sam Reid, Perry Nicole Gallery,
Memphis, TN
2004 Kurt Meer and Drew Galloway, Recent Landscape Paintings, Southside
Gallery, Oxford, MS
Light & Structure: Recent Landscape Paintings, Kurt Meer and Kay Johnston,
Askew, Nixon, Ferguson Architects, Memphis, TN
2002 Small Packages, Cumberland Gallery, Nashville, TN
Inside/Outside, Cumberland Gallery, Nashville, TN
2001 Small Packages, Cumberland Gallery, Nashville, TN
The Contemporary Realist Impulse, Perry Nicole Gallery, Memphis, TN

Publications:

2008 Image Credit, “Pasatiempo, Santa Fe New Mexican, Sept. 12, 2008, p. 69
2007 Patricia Sauthoff, “Culture “, Santa Fe Reporter, July 18-24, p.34
2006 Craig Smith, “Gallerywise”, Pasatiempo, May 26th-June 1st 2006, p. 50
Art in America, Summer Preview, June/July 2006 p.63
THE Magazine, “Openings”, May 1, pg. 34
2005 Wolfgang Mabry, “Opposites Attract”, FOCUS, Oct-Dec. 2005, pg.50-51


Honors:

2004 Art for Embassies Program


Corporate Collections:

Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel, CA
Senator Robert Corkers, Washington, DC