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Notes on the 19th, 20th, and 21st Centuries: Paintings by Jeffrey Kronsnoble
Jeffrey Kronsnoble, Postcard XLE, 1997. Courtesy of the artist.

AUGUSTA, GA.- Notes on the 19th, 20th, and 21st Centuries: Paintings by Jeffrey Kronsnoble opens to the public on Saturday, June 7, and remains on view through Sunday, August 10, at the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, Georgia. Organized by Morris Museum of Art curator Jay Williams, the exhibition includes forty paintings and mixed-media constructions by artist Jeffrey Kronsnoble.

“We’re pleased to bring the work of Jeff Kronsnoble to the attention of a larger audience,” said Kevin Grogan, director of the Morris Museum of Art. “He has been a major influence in American art for many years, both as artist and teacher, introducing his students and the public to the vital presence of art in contemporary life.”

Kronsnoble incorporates many representational elements, “appropriated” from historically important, classic works of art. Visitors may sense that Kronsnoble’s work fits nicely into the familiar flow of art history; but they also may be disconcerted by his strange combinations of images from various periods and styles. A single painting may meld Renaissance portraits of merchants or saints with elements of architecture and abstract expressionist brushwork.

These intriguing combinations of dissimilar styles and subject matter are part of a consistent philosophical approach, developed over the forty years of his tenure as a professor of painting at the University of South Florida. Kronsnoble explains, “The central issue in my art is the concern with relational ideas, with the new entity created by the interface of the elements of a work.”

On a deeper level, Kronsnoble’s paintings and drawings are poetic commentaries—he calls them “notes”—about the struggle between order and chaos in modern life and contemporary art. He appreciates the tension between order and chaos, and in his art seeks to reconcile these by manipulating the various elements of the composition. “It doesn’t matter what the parts are,” he asserts, “figures, design elements, whatever. . . . whether the art is realistic or abstract or anything in between.” For him, the correct balance, the ideal set of relationships, occurs when “it hovers between chaos and order. It therefore looks like life. This being in a state of grace is so much like life that it’s a metaphor for life; whether it’s abstract or representational, it mirrors life.”

Many of Kronsnoble’s paintings are based on the concept of collage, the technique of assembling cut-outs from printed materials, torn papers, photo images, and other found objects. (Collages also may be enhanced with lines and colors added by the artist.) Developed by European artists such as Kurt Schwitters, Max Ernst, and Pablo Picasso during the first half of the twentieth century, collage seems a particularly appropriate metaphor for contemporary life, in which people are constantly meshing diverse traditions, technologies, and other divergent cultural elements. Depending upon the technique and source material, Kronsnoble’s works of art can be categorized into several major groupings: the box series, based on collages that were assembled and then painted or drawn; the postcard series, based on collages of images from museum collections; dioramas, large-scale assemblages similar to the box series; and later paintings that explore seemingly opposing traditions of easel painting, such as landscapes, portraits, and abstractions.

“Jeffrey always says that art is about delighting the eye. His art never preaches—it is joyous,” added Morris Museum curator Jay Williams, a long-time associate of Kronsnoble’s.

The artist: Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Jeffrey Kronsnoble earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, and his MFA from the University of Michigan. Following graduate school, Kronsnoble joined the art department faculty at the University of South Florida in 1963.

Kronsnoble’s work has been featured in one-man shows in galleries in New York, Milwaukee, New Orleans, La Jolla, and throughout Florida, as well as in group shows at the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Detroit Institute of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, D.C., The National Academy of Design in New York City, and The Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio.

His work is represented in the permanent collections of art museums in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Orlando, Daytona Beach, and Jacksonville, Florida and New Orleans, Louisiana, as well as in more than 175 public, corporate, and private collections. Kronsnoble has been awarded the William A. Paton and Thomas B. Clarke prizes by The National Academy of Design in New York, and three Individual Artist Grants from the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs.

A twenty-five-year retrospective exhibition of his work was presented in 1990 at the Polk Museum of Art, Lakeland, Florida, and traveled to museums in Melbourne, Hollywood, and Ft. Myers, Florida.

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