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Opening Reception: Friday April 15, 2005
6-9 PM

Artist’s Statement

Three Nights In Paris is not only a journey through time but through self.  On the surface, or possibly under the first layer, is my very personal narrative: the story of an unearthly pull toward something unknown, embodied in a physical journey to and through Paris.  Gravity exerts a constant push, and weight is grounding, enabling and restraining.  Ever present, it eventually forces one to one’s knees, defeated broken and submissive.  But in this we find a human triumph, not always to rise above but simply to exist.  The beauty of life is this!

This is the beauty that I mean to capture within the narrative qualities of my work.  Austrian Expressionist painter, Oskar Kokoschka, whom I greatly admire, meant to peel back the skin of his subject to reveal an inner truth.  In some it was beautiful, in others monstrous- a reflection of soul.  Although I wish for the soul to present itself in my work, my approach is more scientific.  I am in awe at the processes of our bodies and minds.  Eating and breathing- two spontaneous functions of sustenance, although seemingly mundane, contain a staggering complexity.  I seek to exalt the beauty underneath the muddy, through the tragic, and within the glorious- all equally.

Unlike Kokoschka, I am not patient.  I cannot simply peel back the skin.  I have to rip into the actual tissue and tear everything apart to reduce life to its essentials.  It’s all there in front of me, a beautiful mass of life diffused:  skingutsveins-musclebonebonescellsnervesglands.  I begin the task of re-assembling this once great visage, to glorify the internal.

Paris did to me what I am trying to do to these sculptures.  The city ripped through my soul, revealing to me the universal nature of my existence.  These works are therefore self-portraiture.  They embody my shifting emotions, my fickle tendencies, the honesty, the fallibility: all human, all beautiful.

Samuel Kirk is a Senior Fine Arts major in the Art & Architecture department at Lehigh University.  He is originally from Paradise, Pennsylvania where he grew up working on his parents’ organic vegetable farm.   Samuel wishes to express his thanks to the following for their generous support of this project: Brian Slocum, Lehigh Forum Grants, Lehigh University Art Galleries, Lehigh University Department of Art & Architecture, Kat Thomas, and Lucy Gans.