opening reception: Saturday, August 5, 12-3pm
Gyuri Képes’ Biography
As progenitor of a Potter and namesake to Hungarian Artist-Educator, György Képes, I was introduced to a diverse visual vocabulary at a young age. Drawing from this early introduction to a language of vision, and later through formal studies in communication and the fine arts, I have developed a practice in mixed media that allows me to creatively render an elaborate artistic imagination.
I am a longtime resident of Western Massachusetts, product of the Amherst public school system, and UMass graduate. Since 2019, I have worked at Landmark College in Vermont, where I teach courses in communication and multimedia production.
Gyuri Képes’ Artist Statement
Two aspects of the human body make a recurring appearance in my work: Hands and guts.
Hands—those odd appendages with opposable thumbs, arguably more than any other feature of the human anatomy are what separate us from our primordial past. They are the tools we use to communicate, to create, to labor, to touch, to sense and to feel, to act upon the material world with agency.
Guts—a dense configuration of dark canals, on the other hand, are hidden from view—part of a much older, unconscious, autonomic system. And yet, the gut (vis-à-vis the gut-brain axis) is deeply innervated with the cerebrum—and by extension, our consciousness, our phobias, manias, and cravings. The gut (sometimes referred to as “the second brain”) therefore, is an important processing center not only for nutrients, but also subjective emotions (i.e., “gut feelings”).
In several of my works, the subjects quite literally wear their innards on the outside, exposing reluctantly and grotesquely, their most vulnerable parts—an evisceration of sorts. For myself, these are external projections of an elaborate inner world—of my fears, whims, desires, and neuroses— and thus in an abstract sense, can be considered “self-portraits.” As a collective, these “self- portraits” cast a panoptic gaze back at the viewer, inviting contemplation of the visceral connections between inner and outer worlds, brain and body, between agency and impulse, elimination and accumulation, between shadow and light.
This body of work draws inspiration from a diverse range of visual artists spanning across time and genre. Principally, I am influenced by figurative works in the surrealist, impressionist, and expressionist styles—from Schiele, to Rivera, to Kahlo, and Klimt. The forlorn, almost saint-like subjects adorned in fanciful frames (sometimes as polyptychs), also call to mind, albeit satirically, the religious iconography of the Renaissance era, while also loosely referencing Bosch’s grotesque compositions. These canonical inflections are fused dynamically with contemporary countercultural styles and techniques, including those of underground comix, graffiti, outsider, and absurdist art.
The creative process behind my work is equally varied—and layered. Screen printing, acrylic, graphite, digital illustration, and collage are some of the mediums employed, often in combination and assembled onto a mix of materials including paper, plywood, canvas, plastic, and epoxy resin. Several of my designs were originally created over a decade ago, refined, repurposed, and superimposed as the years go on.