Kurt Rostek is a Toronto Canada based artist who calls himself, “just a simple painter”. There is however nothing simple about his history as an artist. His studio and exhibit history go back over 30 years, with a long association with Artists 25, a collective based in west end Toronto.
He was born in Toronto but raised in what was rural Ontario, now subdivisions and golf courses. His earlier works were water colour studies of birds, a theme that still occasionally pops up in his work, and has since grown into large scale oil paintings.
His practice has since grown with constant reinvention. His mantra being that change is the only absolute truth. Every series he delves into gives him visual opportunities to explore his visual world from a different point of view.
The work he has so immersed himself in has influence from artists and movements as broad as Cubism, The Bauhaus, Abstract Expressionism, Painters 11, and the Automatistes. Formal education in his life has included a Visual Arts Diploma, Centennial College, Architectural Technologist Certificate, Ryerson University, and Fine Arts Studio York University (2 years).
Kurt’s work has been exhibited in Toronto galleries, as well as in New York City and once in Beijing. He has had the good fortune of having his work hang in private as well as public collections worldwide.
I can’t imagine living life without the realization that the only ultimate truth is change, in a second or a lifetime. I have painted for most of my life by the creed that style is a trap of limitations. My mode of work is always in series and every series offers me the opportunity to see my work in a new light, sometimes even with in the same series. I ask, can this series reach it’s natural fruition by continuing with only a slight change in appearance or am I now painting a new stanza?
The written and musical word has been a driving force for me for decades, not just in the manners that I paint but also in the way I live. There was a group of collaborating writers that worked in the 1940s’ through to the early 60s’ known as the Beats. They included amongst others Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. They changed the way the written word can be written and spoken, often eliminating arbitrary punctuation forcing us too read with our breathe, as one recites a meditative mantra. My work tends to adopt that mode of change. Focus on the end of the brush and know the truth of change. I have below contained a quote from one of the few females associated with the abstract expressionists of the mid 20th century that encapsulates my thinking.
“In relations with people, as in art, if you always stick to style, manners, and what will work, and you're never caught off guard, then some beautiful experiences never happen.” - Helen Frankenthaler