[MICHAEL KESSLER]'s oil paintings, now showing at the New Arts Program center in Kutztown, have been billed as "topographical maps of the imagination." It's a description, however, that is too narrow to do justice to the intense imagery of work that lies somewhere between Abstract Expressionism and the sensibilities of the New Image painters.
To Kessler, art is a constant evolutionary process that begins with applying layers of paint in several stages. He then strips them down by scraping away and sanding the top layers, leaving a deceptively smooth surface with an illusionary sense of depth and texture.
Kessler's interest in metaphysics and yoga is the inspiration for "Hara," which is defined as the energy center associated with the abdomen. Here, Kessler explores his feelings about healing, health and inner strength, evoking a sense of the natural urge to reduce life to its basic components and gain knowledge through investigation.