March 19 marks the date when sculptor Arthur Kern and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art open a solo exhibition of the artist’s surrealist works.
Distorted, abstracted, and fanciful are only a few words to describe the surrealist sculptures by artist Arthur Kern. Enhancing the mysterious allure of his work are descriptions of the sculptor himself, who “all but withdrew from the outside world thirty years ago,” the Ogden Museum of Southern Art reports. “Since then, he has spent much of his time working in his basement studio, creating scores of surreal sculptures that disturb as often as they enchant.”

Arthur Kern, “Self Portrait,” 1969, epoxy, (c) Arthur Kern 2016

Kern frequently represents human and equestrian subjects in his sculptures, and his inspiration “flows from his unconscious and can therefore be somewhat difficult to fathom, even for the artist himself.” Guest curator John Berendt recalls, “It was an exhilarating moment, walking into Arthur Kern’s place and discovering forty years of his sculptures arrayed throughout the house on shelves and table tops. There were dozens of them, every one uniquely memorable, even haunting — the elegantly surreal horses, the distorted faces peering through lenses and making bizarre eye-contact with the viewer. Kern’s sculptures merge the beautiful and the grotesque in strangely seductive ways. I left his house that day thinking, ‘People really ought to see these things!’”

Arthur Kern, “Sunday Cruise,” 2011, polyester resin, (c) Arthur Kern 2016

“Arthur Kern: The Surreal World of a Reclusive Sculptor” opens on March 19 and will be on view through July 17. To learn more, visit the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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