Poking Fun at World with His Paint Brush Artist Kurt Polkey Has a Gentle Flair for Social Satire

By Yee, Ivette M. | The Florida Times Union, July 19, 2002 | Go to article overview

Poking Fun at World with His Paint Brush Artist Kurt Polkey Has a Gentle Flair for Social Satire


Yee, Ivette M., The Florida Times Union


Byline: Ivette M. Yee, Times-Union staff writer

Avondale artist Kurt Polkey was going to drive a car into the Spiller Vincenty Gallery, then he thought that erecting a lemonade stand would be better.

All this to fill the space for his one-man show, "Kurt Polkey: New American Paintings," which opens at 7 to night at the San Marco gallery.

The car (which he would have lathered in paint) and the stand (that was just for fun) didn't make his creative cut. Instead, the 29-year-old painter constructed colored wooden boxes with sample art on each side and stacked them in the middle of the gallery.

His larger works, acrylics on broad plywood sheets, hang on the walls and are rich with symbolism and social satire. A self-taught artist and history buff, Polkey likes to use his pieces to relate his affection for pop culture and voice his thoughts on America and the influence of mass media.

"Kurt Polkey is a unique voice in the local contemporary art scene whose rather primitive style and acute social commentary elicits a reaction from anyone who views his work," said Wynn Bone, owner of the Wynn Bone Gallery in St. Augustine, which showcased the artist's works last month.

Take, for instance, his criticism of false patriotism in an untitled work that has an America T-shirt embedded in it. There's also an onslaught of red, white and blue paint on the canvas, and it says: "$5.99, God Bless K-mart." The words "God Bless Capitalism" are crossed out.

"A lot of my stuff comes from ideas that I've had since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks," the super laid-back Polkey said. …

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