On 3rd Friday in August, Kiosk Gallery presents “Above/Below: Tenements” – a solo exhibition of drawings, installation, and mixed media work by Thomas Luna. Luna’s work is an exploration of the void, nihilism, affirmation, and the poetics of harboring a space that is simultaneously inviting and repelling the viewer’s introspection. An artist’s reception will take place Friday, August 21st from 6-9 pm, and the show runs through September 10th.
Thomas Luna is an artist born and currently working in Kansas City, MO. Luna has attended the Kansas City Art Institute and has exhibited at various galleries in KCMO including the Leedy-Voulkos Gallery, Mattie Rhodes Art Center, Vulpes Bastille Gallery, and Vacant Farm.
“Through the use of mark making, exploration of the repetition of forms and lines, and the accretion of materials, my work creates a psychological and genealogical space that is metaphor and abstraction. I want the tool, mark, and material to be evident to the viewer, which can either engage or repel them from an experience. Through the combination of these formal elements of making, I want the viewer to understand the context I am building around the romantic motif. In doing so, I want the viewer to understand the experiential and emotional qualities projected by my work.
In my work, romanticism is related to mark and materiality, which is defined as the in-between state, the liminal, and the ambivalent nature of the contexts in my work. The experiences I convey through the use of obliterated and accreted abstractions and representations can either be attractive in their gestural quality or beguiling in their inaccessibility. I am exploring binaries of subject and concept, the ideas of chaos versus order, new mentalities versus old constructs, whimsical versus intentional marks and strategies. These strategic qualities that I arm my visual language with are directly linked to the current concepts I am exploring.
The void is an idea I am currently working on communicating and challenging. A space that can be both nothing and everything, is conceptually appealing to me, not only because it is difficult to understand but the void also conveys a deeper sense of meaning, one that is related to a persons body and soul or spirit. Having a specific idea of a subject matter has been a crucial step in understanding the constructs of my practice. The specificity of the affect I want to relate through my work consistently allows for introspection into material, form, tool, and mark. This introspection that I am trying to experience is not only a staple of my practice but also a goal in which I want the viewer to reach themselves while viewing my work.
The void is representative of total intensity combined with a brutal nothingness. This idea of dual concepts butting heads creates the liminal space in which I want to work, becoming tenement and an impenetrable structure. The totality of nihilism is countered by the intensity of image and material. This duality creates a space between the viewer being completely enveloped by the void and being repelled out of the void.
The process that I use to make these works is two fold. The first is a process of fortification. I create constraints or a system of rules in which to work, usually pertaining to the process of creating and the use of material. By creating a paradigm for my work to reside, I can build a context in which to destroy or counter. Then, I sacrifice and risk breaking the system I built for my work. By trying to highlight a fissure in material logic and finding a mechanism within my process to refer to a loss of the passion of sublimation, I am willingly putting my work at risk of becoming too shallow for introspection or too deep for a viewers empathy.
This two part process, although the variables (material, process, tool, mark, etc.) can be exchanged, is allowing for my exploration of the void and the liminal space between reality and unreality, concrete and conceptual. This conceptual framework has kept me and my practice invested, as there are many different strategies and angles in which to pursue.”