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Willi Kissmer was born in Duisburg, Germany, in 1951. Multi-talented as a teenager, he was undecided whether to dedicate himself to the visual arts or music. Kissmer studied at the Folkwangscule, University of Essen, and later taught printmaking at the University of Duisberg. As for his music, Kissmer is now an accomplished guitarist and has recorded three albums to date.
Although his art is relatively new to North America, the artist is no stranger to the Americas, Europe, the Former Soviet Union, or Asia, all through which he has traveled extensively. Described as a contemporary master, Kissmer has been represented by galleries and museums from California to Leningrad.
The artist employs combinations of etching, aquatint, drypoint, and mezzotint techniques on his copperplates. A range of warm tones and an electrifying edge he brings to his subject, in part link Kissmer's art to a long tradition of realism in northern European painting. For this skill Kissmer has built a solid reputation, an avid following in Europe and a rapidly expanding interest in North America.
The foundation of Kissmer's art is in his passion for the still life, combining elements of the female figure, everyday objects, and residential architecture. A disquieting sense of heightened observation, limited palette, and refined simplicity create moving works that are not conventionally pretty, but compelling and confrontational.
Kissmer's expressive and exaggerated interpretation of detail is a trait that permeates the body of his art, which has been described as sensual, provocative, technical, and mysterious. The interplay of folds, texture, and light have the effect of transforming a commonplace subject into something extraordinary. The result for the observer is not just a visual experience, but also a uniquely personal journey.
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