In VERNACULAR, artist Jeff Kahm explores geometric structures like stripes as an effective vehicle for exploring compositional variations. Kahm culls examples from all cultures to show that these forms played a major role in the geometric styles and development of aesthetics of early history and it is precisely in their use as symbols that geometric configurations persist. Various Indigenous cultures used abstract and geometric motifs not only for visual aesthetics (as a visual language) but to create meaning – meanings that symbolically represented the physical and social world. Not surprisingly, stripes continue to be one of the most popular vehicles for color used by many contemporary artists.
In essence, Kahm’s work is a fusion of Indigenous motifs combined with codes of modernist practices. The construction of his paintings, including scale and application of color and texture, are intentional and contributes to the overall immediacy and presence of the work.