About the Artist

Ancient art forms and wisdom traditions have become the source as well as the intent of Kende’s imagery.

Having escaped then communist ruled Hungary, the Kende family landed in N.Y.C., in 1956. Ivan, ten years old at the time, restless from a quite long plane ride, on an unfamiliar out of the blue  impulse, had a chance to make a sketch, his first ever, that afternoon. He has been drawing ever since.

The ethereal qualities of a precisely textured Acrylic painting series he developed in the 1990’s and a thematically related Conté drawing series on textured paper, opened for him an entirely new concept and the techniques to express them. 

Thick, hard, “Oak Tanned” leather is a medium Kende explored years earlier. African tribal masks revealed to him what shapes and forms this prehistoric material could deliver and express the primordial and spiritual content he then perceived in those artworks. Delving into Neolithic cave paintings at Lascaux, France was decisive in reinforcing this new vision. The magical beauty those ancient artists achieved with rudimentary materials, the sense of power contained in their surehanded, gestural drawings left him awestruck. The coarse, grainy quality of their drawings on the rough cave surfaces transformed his original, delicate, Conté drawings on paper into large, gritty, pastel drawings on canvas. As erasure is barely possible once the medium is applied, every stroke becomes a meditation, an act of controlled spontaneity. His allegorical images emerge into the realm of the visible, mark by mark, out of “Chaos”, “The Infinite Formless”, “ The Nagual”.

Solo Exhibitions

2021 Flatlanders Gallery, Blissfield, MI
2017 Art on Madison, Lakewood, OH
2012 River House Arts, Toledo, OH
2010 Flatlanders, Blissfield, MI
2006 The Tom James Gallery, Northville, MI
2005 Turkaly Gallery, Cleveland, OH
2005 Chelsea Gallery, Chelsea,MI
2002 Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH/                                               Westgate Gallery                                                     

2001 Chelsea Gallery, Chelsea, MI
2001 Pierre Paul Gallery, Ann Arbor, MI
1998 Yribar Gallery, Ann Arbor, MI


Selected Group Exhibits

2011  Flatlanders Gallery, Blissfield, MI.                         

2000 River House Arts, Toledo, OH
2008 Paoli House Gallery, Madison, WI
2007 Parkwood Gallery, Toledo, OH
2007 Secor Gallery, Toledo, OH
2004 Turkaly Gallery, Cleveland, OH
2000 Caelum Gallery, NY / Hiroshima, Japan
2000 Pierre Paul Gallery, Ann Arbor, MI
1999 Claire Spitler Works of Art, Ann Arbor, MI
1998 Caelum Gallery, New York, N.Y.

1995 Jan Miller Gallery, St. Augustine, FL


1960 – 64 The Art Students’ League, New York, N.Y.