Works by Edmund Kuehn displayed at Columbus' Keny Galleries

GARY SEMAN JR.
gseman@thisweeknews.com
Tim Keny of Keny Galleries poses with a few pieces from an upcoming exhibit, "Visual Music: The Art of Edmund Kuehn," which will be on display Friday, July 31, through Aug. 31 in Keny Galleries, 300 E. Beck St. in Columbus.

The work of a Columbus artist known for his passion, liveliness and dramatic use of color will be the subject of a monthlong display at a German Village art gallery.

"Visual Music: The Art of Edmund Kuehn" will be on display Friday, July 31, through Aug. 31 at Keny Galleries, 300 E. Beck St.

More than 30 works, some still lifes along with abstract work, will be part of the display.

An opening reception will be from 4 to 8 pm. July 31 at the gallery.

The display is open by appointment only. Facial coverings are required and social distancing will be practiced.

For more information, call 614-464-1228.

Tim Keny, co-owner of the gallery, said Kuehn was intelligent, erudite and one of the early supporters of abstract modernism on the local art scene.

In particular, he was a staunch defender of the modern-art collection of a fellow central Ohioan, Ferdinand Howald.

Much of Kuehn's work was highly stylized, something Keny calls "quasi representational."

"But he would be the first to tell you, as people look at an abstract (piece), they don't understand what it means; virtually all great work is abstract," Keny said.

One of his paintings is "Banjo Player," in which geometric figures appear to be moving, vivid colors jump off the page and different brushstrokes keep the viewer's eyes moving, trying to make sense of distorted images.

"It has a lot of energy and vitality -- it's like the forms are dancing on the picture frame," Keny said.

Kuehn was born in 1916 in south Columbus. He graduated from South High School and then enrolled in the Columbus Art School, according to information supplied by Keny Galleries.

He was one of 10 students who won a scholarship to the Art Students League of New York, where he studied under Yasuo Kuniyoshi and Vaclav Vytlacil, the information said.

His passion for the arts took him around the globe more than once, organizing exhibits in some of the world's biggest cities.

Kuehn was once curator and then director of the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, according to the information.

Most of Kuehn's works were exhibited locally. He died at 94 in 2011.

"Kuehn's beautifully lyrical and colorful work continues to gain admirers, and certainly those of us who live here appreciate the recognition he brings our city, as well as his many creative and educational contributions to Columbus," said Jami Goldstein, spokeswoman for the Greater Columbus Arts Council. "It's always exciting to see a retrospective that features such a renowned Columbus artist as Edmund Kuehn."

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