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 Brian Kershisnik  (1962 - )

About: Brian Kershisnik


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Lived/Active: Utah/Oklahoma      Known for: elongated figure and animal painting, religious themes

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A painter in oil in abstract-realist style of figures and animals, Brian Kershisnik conveys both humor and tension about male and female relationships and the balance of power between them.  The underlying idea is that love is complicated and difficult, and that pressures of today's society are especially challenging.  His artwork also reflects his religious beliefs as a Mormon, and one of his canvases is titled St. Joseph of Arimathea.  In some of his paintings, figures and animals seem to be flying and dancing around---men, women, cats and black dogs, in memory of his pet Labrador/mixed breed companion, Mordecai.  Many of his people and animals have elongated shapes in the tradition of Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani, 1884-1920.

Kershisnik is a resident of Kanosh, Utah, "a no-stoplight hamlet boasting 500 people, one grocery store, a gas station, and a hair salon." (106) Ancestors of his wife, Suzanne, founded the town, where she is very active in community affairs including the founding of a community theatre for children.  He grew up with a geologist father, which meant the family moved frequently.  He went to schools in Pakistan, Thailand, Norway and Angola, and spent many summers of his childhood with relatives in Wyoming.  Often feeling like an outsider, he drew pictures to entertain himself. 

For college, he enrolled at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and majored in fine art, completing a B.F.A. degree in Painting in 1988.  He spent time as a Mormon missionary in Denmark, and in 1991 earned an M.F.A. in Fine Art in printmaking in Austin at the University of Texas.  For a long time, his major interest was figures, but not specific people---just ones who represented ideas or concepts.  In 1997 and 1998, he was a Fellowship Finalist in the Visual Arts for the Utah Arts Council, and in 1996, won Best of Sho at the 72nd Utah Spring Salon at the Springville Museum of Art.

His studio is 1000 square feet in a red-stone building in a former dance-hall space, and his working method is to have a number of paintings in process rather than completing them one by one.   He plays all kinds of lively music when painting including rock, choral, bossa nova and folk.  A goal for him in 2006 is to complete works for a solo exhibition at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts beginning February 2007.

Sources include:
Bonnie Gangelhoff, "Telling Tales", Southwest Art, September 2006, pp. 106-109
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