Ron Koehler: 50th Anniversary Gallery #3
Brush Block Grid #15 by Ron Koehler
16 1/2 " x 17"
The Brush Block Grid Series is the continuation of a series that I started several years ago. During November of 2021, my older sister, Marilyn, contracted the Covid Virus and was placed on a ventilator in the hospital for a month before she passed away in December. During this time I spent many hours in the studio because I felt the need to create.
The carved brushes placed on 3 ½” x 4" blocks of split wood, mainly plywood. Splitting plywood created many different textural elements and coloration. Each piece of split the wood became more amazing. After seeing many of these blocks side-by-side I decided to mount them on panels as a group. During this time I created 25 panels consisting of 15 - 30 brush blocks on each panel.
Lesley remembers: I first heard of Ron as the head of the Art Department at Delta State. We invited him to participate in one of our theme shows, and his commitment to the theme blew me away. When it was chairs, he made chairs by stacking books, when it was food, he created realistic burgers of wood. I’ve been most impressed by how he transforms everyday objects into art that resonates. He has taken paintbrushes, the most basic tool of the painter, and given them passion and texture. They seem to have a life inside their own environment that pulls you in. Ron and I haven’t spent much time together over the years, but his imaginative artwork has helped define the Attic, and his fun use of found objects has been an inspiration in my own work.
Born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri on September 30, 1950. Koehler received a B.S. in Art Ed. (1972) and MAT degree (1975) from Southeast Missouri State University and MFA in Sculpture (1980) from the University of Memphis. He taught sculpture at Delta State University retiring after 35 years of service receiving the title of chair emeritus and professor emeritus along with the 2016-17 Outstanding Teaching Award. He also served as the International President of Kappa Pi International Art Honor Society from 1998 - 2014. Kappa Pi has over 500 chapters on college and university campuses throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Current studio interests involve the human figure, food, tools, and the paint brush. His “Dadaist” bent paint brush reference of mass producing his own ready-made objects have included installation of over a thousand paint brushes. Some of his sculpture traveled throughout the U.S. and New Zealand in the “Tri-state Sculptors Suitcase Exhibition”. Other work traveled for three years throughout the U.S. and Taiwan in the “International Shoebox Sculpture Exhibition”. His work is part of many public collections throughout the country and abroad, including the Mississippi Museum of Art, Meridian Museum of Art, Museum of the Mississippi Delta, The John Hechinger “Tools as Art Collection” in Washington, D.C., the State of Hawaii Foundation on Culture and Arts and the West Palm Beach Airport.
His sculpture has been exhibited in over 600 exhibitions in all 50 states receiving over 100 awards including 20 purchase awards. Photographs of his sculpture have appeared in over 70 exhibition catalogues, magazines and books including: Fine Woodworking; American Craft; Woodwork Magazine; Sculpture: Technique, Form, Content; Wood Art Today; The Sculpture Reference; and Wood Art Today 2.