PREVIOUS ARTICLE

Ones to Watch: Rose Masterpol

Spotlighting the work of Rose Masterpol

NEXT ARTICLE

Ones to Watch: Katie Metz

Spotlighting the work of Katie Metz

"Upstream" | Acrylic on Panel | 48 x 90 inches  

Ones to Watch: Michael Kessler

Spotlighting the work of Michael Kessler

Written by Michele Corriel  

Michele Corriel

Other Contributions

A Voice in Stone Equus Synchronicity Ones to Watch: Artist Jinni Thomas Ones to Watch: Artist Karen Bezuidenhout Ones to Watch: Rory Egelus Ones to Watch: Ceramic Artist George McCauley Ones to Watch: Painter Rick Stevens Ones to Watch: Jon Dick Ones to Watch: Mixed-media Artist Christopher Owen Nelson Ones to Watch: Diana Tremaine Ones to Watch: Josh Elliot Ones to Watch: Doug Smith Ones to Watch: David Barrett Ones to Watch: Howard Knight Ones to Watch: Silas Thompson Ones to Watch: Kristine Allphin Ones to Watch: Chris Morel Ones to Watch: Sherry Salari Sander Ones to Watch: Alan Carr Ones to Watch: Robert Royhl Ones to Watch: Robert Seliger Ones to Watch: Karen Woods Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Ones to Watch: Artist Glendon Good Ones to Watch: Painter Deladier Almeida Ones to Watch: Sculptor Stephanie Revennaugh Ones to Watch: Painter Gregory Packard Ones to Watch: Randy Stromsoe Ones to Watch: Beth Loftin Ones to Watch: Dyani White Hawk Ones to Watch: David Bardwick Ones to Watch: Donna Gans Ones to Watch: Susan Jarecky Ones to Watch: Carrie Fell Ones to Watch: Rose Masterpol Ones to Watch: Bryan Peterson Ones to Watch: Terry Karson Ones to Watch: Lisa Ronay Ones to Watch: Tracy Leagjeld Perspective: Gennie DeWeese [1921-2007] Ones to Watch: Andrew Mann Ones to Watch: Bonnie Teitelbaum Illuminations: Ones to watch Perspective: Frances Senska [1914–2009] Ones to Watch: Artist Ralph Wiegmann Ones to Watch: Artchitect Candace Miller Ones to Watch: Architect George Gibson Ones to Watch: Architect Nick Deaver Ones to Watch: Sculptor Bale Creek Allen Ones to Watch: Painter Brianne Janes Ones to Watch: Danae Bennett Miller Ones to Watch: Mark Edward Adams Ones to Watch: Josh Chandler Ones to Watch: Tony Abeyta Ones to Watch: Robert Spooner Marcus Ones to Watch: Ken Andrews Ones to Watch: Michael Kessler Ones to Watch: Jim Dayton Ones to Watch: Rahnee Gladwin Ones to Watch: Geoffrey Warner Ones to Watch: Gwen Samuels Ones to Watch: Kensuke Yamada Ones to Watch: Michael Greenspan Ones to Watch: Chuck Middlekauff Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Ones to Watch: Sculptor Carol Alleman Ones to Watch: Artist Kathleen Dunphy Ones to Watch: Jeweler Jesse Monongye Ones to Watch: Michael Ross Ones to Watch: Furniture maker Charise Buckley Ones to Watch: Sculptor Charles Ringer Ones to Watch: David Slonim Ones to Watch: Catherine Courtenaye Ones to Watch: Ironworker Ted Docteur Ones to Watch: Evert Sodergren Ones to Watch: Jacquelyn Bischak Ones to Watch: Guilloume Ones to Watch: David Coffin Ones to Watch: Francis Di Fronzo Ones to Watch: Jeff Pugh Ones to Watch: Geoff Parker Ones to Watch: Troy Collins Ones to Watch: Dean Mabe Ones to Watch: Shelley Muzylowski Allen Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Ones to Watch: Architect Tim Belton Ones to Watch: Anne Moore Ones to Watch: Painter Flavia Eckholm Ones to Watch: Clive Tyler Ones to Watch: Weaver Cheryl Samuel Ones to Watch: Painter Gavin Brooks Ones to Watch: Tracy Leagjeld Ones to Watch: Jared Sanders Ones to Watch: Shawna Moore Ones to Watch: Aleta Pippin Ones to Watch: Rene Gibson Ones to Wacth Ones to Watch: Mike Krupnick Ones to Watch: Matt Smith Ones to Watch: Stacy Robinson Ones to Watch: Dean L. Mitchell Ones to Watch: Kirsten Kainz Ones to Watch: Susan von Borstel Ones to Watch: Craig Bergsgaard Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Ones to Watch: La Puerta Originals Ones to Watch: Artist David Patchen Ones to Watch: Architect Aaron Kang-Crosby of Spore Architecture Ones to Watch: Frank Marquette Ones to Watch: Architect Susan Desko Ones to Watch: Sculptor Tammy Bality Ones to Watch: Suzanne Wallace Mears Ones to Watch: Clare Walton Ones to Watch: Mike Medow Ones to Watch: Leon Loughridge Ones to Watch: Eric Cobb Ones to Watch: Greg Madeen Ones to Watch: Mary Baxter Ones to Watch: Julia Lucich Ones to Watch: Kevin and Val Pourier Ones to Watch: Marc Hanson Ones to Watch: Preston Singletary Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Ones to Watch: Artist Allen Garns Ones to Watch: Jill Zeidler Ones to Watch: Painter Luke Stavrowsky Ones to Watch: Bill Poss Ones to Watch: Britt Freda Ones to Watch: Painter Cesar Santos Ones to Watch: Troy Collins Ones to Watch: Bryan Christiansen Ones to Watch: Henry Jackson Ones to Watch: Simon Gudgeon Ones to Watch: Gordon McConnell Ones to Watch: Hadley Rampton Ones to Watch: Olivia Pendergast Ones to Watch: Kevin DesPlanques Ones to Watch: Jamie Kirkland Ones to Watch: Brian Scott Ones to Watch: Kyle Polzin Ones to Watch: Ben Pease Ones to Watch: Julie Gustafson Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Ones to Watch: Artist Linda Elliott Ones to Watch: Deborah Berniklau Ones to Watch: Painter Denise Lemaster Ones to Watch: Architect Erik Peterson Ones to Watch: D. LaRue Mahlke Ones to Watch: Artist Crista Ann Ames Ones to Watch: Christopher Ries Ones to Watch: Mary Bechtol In the Studio: Richard Parish Ones to Watch: Florian Roeper Ones to Watch: Greg Kelsey Ones to Watch: Andrew Denman Ones to Watch: Sandra Pratt Ones to Watch: Jeff Williams Ones to Watch: Josh Clare Ones to Watch: Daniel Weaver Ones to Watch: Nora Naranjo-Morse Ones to Watch: Marela Zacarías Ones to Watch: Glenn Dean Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Collector’s Eye: Native American folk art collector Bruce VanLandingham
August | September 2015


Using between 20 and 100 microlayers of paint, Michael Kessler creates contemporary abstract paintings referencing the natural environment. Using tools he designed, Kessler strove for years to move the conversation about art forward.

“It’s been a long and wonderful journey,” he says. “In some ways it’s coming full circle. I grew up in a small, rural setting in Pennsylvania and as a teenager I was moved by Andrew Wyeth’s work.” He wandered around in the farmland and painted trees. He looked deeply at the forest floors and the way the light fell. But he still had a long way to go to find his own voice. After living amidst the avant-garde art world of New York City, Kessler moved West.

“In the end I wanted to find a way to make a good painting,” he says. “I spent my life trying to prove painting is still viable, exciting, pertinent and important.”

In his current series, Forest, he moves from immersion in the landscape to a color-grasp of physics, where he brings us into a dimension seemingly impossible through a two-dimensional surface. Like the infinite layers of organics in the woodland ground, Kessler’s many layers bring a new understanding of the systematic complexity of life on a cellular level.

“It’s heavily layered work,” Kessler says. “I chose to work in acrylics because I was invited to experiment with plastic paint. I use a process of layering that did not exist before I started doing it.” 

In terms of the imagery, he wanted to be able to go back and forth from hard-edge Minimalism to representational imagery. “I wanted to work on a continuum,” he says. “My process allows me to go back and forth and not sacrifice any integrity. I wanted to be free to navigate throughout the painting.” 

Before he began Forest, he had another idea for his newest series, but once he began walking in the southern Utah forests, lying down on the floor and gazing up through the foliage, he found himself making paintings of the woods. “My process was very keyed up and ready to paint the woods,” he says. “I didn’t have to invent any new techniques, everything I knew about paint — the drips and the runs, the puddles, all of it — it turned into trees. It was magical. All of sudden I’m engaged. I’m going for more walks. Then I come back to the studio. Back and forth. It’s the most honest thing I can do right now.”

And so he comes full circle. Back to the woods he dreamt of in his youth. “These are paintings first and depictions of the forest second,” Kessler says. “These are not illustrations of the woods, these are paintings. It’s about innovation and they advance the notion that painting can still go somewhere. It’s pretty exciting.”

Kessler’s work appears in museum collections including the Broad Foundation in Los Angeles, California, and the Museum of Fine Art in Boston, Massachusetts. He is represented by Ann Korologos Gallery in Basalt, Colorado; Gallery Mar in Park City, Utah; Schmidt/Dean Gallery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Nuart Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Sense Fine Art in Menlo Park, California. 

Michael Kessler

"Redlands (1)" | Acrylic on Panel | 80 x 60 inches  

"Forest (4)" | Acrylic on Panel | 48 x 72 inches