Surety and Uncertainty

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John Davis Gallery opened an exhibition last week featuring the work of Kyle Staver, whose paintings have turned to the old stories. “Lately I have been painting dragons, distressed maidens, and bulls with bad intentions,” says the artist. “Titian, Rembrandt, Picasso, Redon, and Ryder have all preceded me to this trough and drunk deeply. Perhaps the greatest inspiration for my recent work is the Metropolitan Museum’s Courbet exhibition in 2010. The personal and mythic narrative in Courbet’s work reminds me of the dark and weighty atmosphere of my native northern Minnesota, where the winter sun sets early and night goes on forever.

“These new paintings are less the France of Matisse and Bonnard and more the Minnesota of my memory. They reflect my growing awareness of the uncertainties of life. I don’t think it’s an accident that these mythical subjects are often taken up by artists in middle to late career. I have grown increasingly interested in speaking with the big boys of Western art, stepping into their homes, working with their darker palettes and their darker subjects. This is a wonderful conversation to be having, but I’m only ready for it now, after many years of painting.”

“Kyle Staver, Paintings, Prints, Reliefs” runs through February 24 at John Davis Gallery, 362 1/2 Warren Street, Hudson, New York, 518-828-5907,

Franklin Einspruch is an artist and writer. He blogs at

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