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According to Bob Kuhn, “Painting action pieces is not for the faint-hearted. If ever the hours of study, of observation, of drawing, drawing, drawing are justified, it is in conjuring up a complex, action-filled composition with sufficient authority to stand as a finished work. ... My idea of a good painting is like watching a good skier in action. He doesn’t simply get from the top of the hill to the bottom. He hits the moguls, carves some beautiful turns, and throws in a lot of fancy stuff.”

Writes Tom Davis in The Art of Bob Kuhn, “In other words, it’s exciting. And if there’s one quality that Bob Kuhn looks for in a painting – representational, abstract, whatever – it’s the capacity to excite the viewer, to engage body, mind and soul in the aesthetic transaction. The work that accomplishes this is a success, regardless of any errors of fact it may contain. In the realm of wildlife art, there is no more overrated virtue than fidelity to nature. The measure of art is in the beholder’s eye, not the biologist’s calipers. In fact, the artist who practices absolute fidelity to nature, particularly in the depiction of animals in motion, is doomed from the outset. This is because the actual mechanics of movement, as revealed by high-speed photography, are often startlingly different from movement as we perceive it. And perception, as opposed to scientific veracity, is the currency of art.”

LITERATURE:
Sports Afield (December 1972), illustrated
Bob Kuhn, The Animal Art of Bob Kuhn (Westport, Connecticut: North Light Publishers, 1973), page 56-57 illustrated

PROVENANCE:
James W. Codding and Peter B. Codding, Santa Rosa, California

EXHIBITIONS:
Kuhn Retrospective, National Museum of Wildlife art, Jackson, Wyoming, 1977
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario, 1985

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