Fleeing Communist ruled Hungary, the Kende family arrived in the U.S.A., in late 1956. Ten years old, restless from a very long plane ride, Ivan Kende made a sketch that first night in a small notebook he received enroute as a gift. He has been drawing ever since.
During his teen years, he had the good fortune to be enrolled in figure drawing classes at “The Art Students’ League”, in N.Y. City. In his twenties and thirties, he practiced figurative painting with oils and taught himself several forms of leather craft. He switched to Acrylics in the early 1990’s. Practicing a precisely textured technique, he explored formal compositions and also developed an extensive series of delicate Conté drawings on paper, both depicting ethereal subjects.
Around 2004, a moment of absentminded musing with leather scraps, prompted a sculpture series. A complete system of fabrication revealed its self as the inherently primal nature of the material fused seamelessly with a construction technique he invented in his earlier years. That this was an artform that could fully express visually his interest in metaphysical concepts was confirmed as he delved into African tribal masks. All none-perspective based art traditions became a reservoir. The magical beauty of the Neolithic paintings in the Lascaux and Altamira caves inspired the last step to completely embracing a more primitive, symbolic approach to image making. The coarse, tactile feel of their pigments on rough cave surfaces was the final ingridient. His original, delicate, Conté drawings on textured paper, transformed into large, gritty, pastel drawings on canvas.
Since then, ancient art forms, metaphysical themes and wisdom traditions have become the source as well as the intent of his imagery.
Selected Group Exhibits
The Walnut Gallery
September 7, – October 30, 2021