Barbara Jones and Patricia Terwilliger of Jones & Terwilliger Galleries in Carmel have more than 7,000 square feet of space devoted to top artists of diverse genres. Sculpture and paintings enthrall visitors throughout their two downtown galleries, and at their third popular location in Palm Desert. What links the collection of artists is a unique and masterful method of expression throughout diverse styles—whether it’s Realism, Contemporary Abstraction, Classical—or in the case of Russian-born painter Andre Kohn, a Contemporary Impressionistic style.
“We are so thrilled to have our first solo show for Andre Kohn in May with a reception for the artist on May 12th. Twenty magnificent paintings will be featured and his shows traditionally are sold out. This show is dovetailing with the 21st anniversary of our business,” Terwilliger says. “We have represented Andre Kohn for about seven years. His figurative paintings are reminiscent of the experience of sitting in a café in Europe, watching all the interesting people walk by. Each with a different attitude, a story to tell, caught with Andre’s dynamic, gestural brushwork and airy palette. With layers of pigment, his compositions harness the movement and energy of that intimate moment. We hope our local community will stop in to enjoy this amazing collection.”
Carmel Magazine spoke with Andre Kohn shortly before his Carmel show opened.
Carmel Magazine: How would you describe your style? What artists have influenced your work, and what aspects of your own life experiences and training help you create your unique and beautiful paintings?
Andre Kohn: My style is described as Figurative Expressionism. (Expressionism is the more modern term for Impressionism.) I chose this path at the age of 16, leaving my promising career as an athlete, after realizing that even winning a gold medal at the Olympics would put me on a bench for the rest of life working as a coach. I discovered the never-ending passion for fine arts and started knocking on the doors of prominent Russian Impressionists back in 1988 to acquire the best knowledge I could, followed by studying at the most prestigious university in the country, in Moscow, at its fine art department.
Besides being influenced obviously by the living masters at the time I apprenticed under—I always considered my true teachers the legends such as Nicolai Fechin, John Singer Sargent, Filipe Malyavin, Valentin Serov. Later when studying in France, I was introduced to the works of Eugene Carriere and Ignacio Pinazo, who were all the masters of interpreting the human figure in their very own way.
The academia would teach a young aspiring artist the skills of drawing and painting; however, there is a big difference between a craftsman and an artist, and I was well aware that to call myself an artist I had to create my own “language” of communication and translation for my vision using the painting process. Only in the late ’90s after years of serious experimenting have I discovered and later mastered my own “language.” And since then, every day I have been trying to improve the many small details as part of my daily routine. At the end of each year, I find out that a new threshold of perfection is reached.
CM: What inspires you in life? How does that inform your choice of subject matter?
AK: What inspires me is the most challenging subject matter…the human figure in its infinite gesture and character. I seek to find extraordinary in the ordinary and often compare my creative process to writing poetry or choreography.
In my book, “The Endless World of a Moment,” I use my very favorite quote by Nicolai Fechin, “What an artist fills his canvas with is not so important. What is always important is how he does it.” This has always served as my motto during the creative process.
CM: Is there a type of person who seems drawn to your pieces? Do you find any similarities in your clients? What do they tell you they enjoy about your work?
AK: I do strongly believe that the majority of my collectors see past the subject matter and truly enjoy the organic-like texture of the execution in all of my paintings and notice the sense of discovery in my drawings. It is always such a delight to speak with a collector who also finds something more profound in my work than I anticipated in showing. And the best compliment I hear is when collectors tell me that they use their own imagination to “finish” the moment in my work and that they don’t get tired of looking and searching while viewing my paintings. That is one of my goals.
CM: What do you hope people will experience when they view your art? Why is art so important to humanity?
AK: I often use comparison of reading a book or watching a movie. In movies, everything is created for the viewer, where in books, a writer creates the characters or the scene. That’s why the Russian classic writers are known around the world as the best creators of human souls by using their own unique language while describing a character. While reading
a book, we create the characters in our own mind and that’s why we hear often that the book was so much better than the movie. It’s kind of similar in my work. I challenge the viewers’ minds.
Art has no definition any longer in this world. Unfor-tunately, many people are afraid to experiment with painting or drawing, thinking perhaps they are not good enough or they need to go to school for a long time. Art is a way to express yourself, just like any other genre, not to mention it’s very therapeutic. Besides merely enjoying the creative process, starting with an idea and a blank canvas, it’s a true passion.
Why arts are important for humanity? It is a phenomenal and unique way to express yourself and that’s one of those 10 elements which make a human being feeling whole. It is a significant part of true happiness!
CM: Anything else you would like to add?
AK: I want to thank Jones and Terwilliger Galleries and its dynamic and ambitious owners Patricia and Barbara from the very bottom of my heart for giving me such an incredible opportunity to present my latest work. I was inspired by another trip to Italy last summer (the Amalfi Coast, Tuscany and Milan). I also want to communicate to fine art lovers and collectors my own vision of that part of the world—rich in colors, character, and beauty—translated and interpreted through the human figure.
Jones & Terwilliger Galleries hosts an artist opening reception for Andre Kohn on May 12 from 5-8pm. Jones & Terwilliger Galleries are located at Sixth Avenue between San Carlos and Dolores in Carmel. Kohn’s solo show will be up through May 31. For more information, go to www.jones-terwilliger-galleries.com. To RSVP to the event, please call 831/626-9100.