Joshua Liner Gallery is pleased to present Triumph, an exhibition of new works by the Kansas artist Kris Kuksi, including mixed-media sculpture, painting, work on paper, and a large-scale installation. This is Kuksi’s third solo outing with the gallery and the most diverse presentation of his work to date.
With its cautionary title, Triumph skewers the hubris and folly of human ambition. This cavalcade of epic works references mythology, the occult, and organized religion, and uses age-old techniques of visual storytelling to voice personal angst. Depicting grand themes with extravagant embellishments, Kuksi’s assemblages of small, mass-produced materials are intrinsically narrative. Like gilt Baroque altarpieces, their stunning excess of detail is the ideal vehicle for the artist’s critique of power and piety. And like those early works of public art, they appeal to the viewer to transcend the strife and striving associated with greed.
Featured in this exhibition is the tenth installment in Kuksi’s trenchant Churchtank series. These constructions suggest an “unholy” resonance between the pious power of organized religions and the self-righteous imperialism of the military-industrial complex. This amalgam of a steepled church form fused at the base to a hulking tank is a disturbing vision. Though earlier versions have been smaller and, in the last instance, took the evocative form of a bronze edition, this latest Churchtank is a breathtaking, ten-foot installation constructed of wood, a wry condemnation of the abuses of both power and piety regardless of their source. Kuksi argues that the age-old urge to prevail is itself corrupt and ripe now for spiritual revolution.
Born in 1973 in Springfield, Missouri, Kris Kuksi earned his BFA and MFA in Painting at Fort Hays State University and lives and works in Hays, Kansas.