Cameron Kursél, Thorsen Kursél: 8art4dinner!

Over 20 years ago this was the first passcode I ever used. It became a popular go to for all of my family. To this day many of us use this for access to much of our personal information. It not only functions that way but it is code for our family approach to life: Ate Art For Dinner! We sought the family’s approval prior to choosing the title for the show and all agreed to change out all accounts that used the passcode. What could be more apropos than titling a father/son exhibition with a family passcode that prompts the public to view our Art, the ultimate passcode!

-Thorsen Kursél

Thorsen Kursél Artist Statement:

I place my art between the familiar and the strange. Not in the sense that they appear out of thin air or come from nothing, but more like how dreams are fueled by our memories and our experiences. I thrive in the unexpected. Some images I use are found in the paintings I see in museums and galleries.  For example in Nan’s Blouse, I sourced an image from Grant Woods’ 1933 “Portrait of Nan” hanging in the Chazen Museum of Art. The Objects I make work the same way. They are curiosities, souvenirs, and trophies. They are manipulations that mock masculinity at times and mimic ethnographic museum artifacts. Some are more humble than others, but for the most part the scraps are ordinary. Combining them suggests a new narrative. The new story that unfolds is entirely makeshift. The objects are just there for humor, conversation, debate and to acknowledge that the original purpose they were made for, while no longer primary, was not in vain.

Cameron Kursél Artist Statement:

What’s in your wall? This series is a material exploration meant to reveal the beauty that is hidden behind and within our walls. In their regular lives, the materials used are typically covered with something of higher quality but with arguably less visual appeal. I am always disappointed when a building is clad in something drab, covering the bright colors and bold graphics of the rigid insulation. These materials are highly functional when used as intended for; a wall assembly, underlayment, or backing. By exposing and presenting those same materials on a wood armature I have reconfigured their function and emphasized their graphic qualities. They are applied in a way that mimics the texture mapping of the 3D software used to design them. The repetitive box form levels the playing field, letting the character and personality of each material come forth. Their form and proportion suggest new functions: sit, stand, or place.

These seven objects navigate the spaces between architecture, furniture, and art. They are humble and imperfect. They bring attention to the unintended beauty of hidden structures and give voice to a silent, yet ever-present group of materials.

About the Artists

Thorsen Kursél is a visual artist and former painting faculty at the University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign and the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He is the founder and former president of Dead Straight Stretchers Inc (1996 – 2021), a company that manufactured supports and surfaces for artists. He is co-founder of Open Canvas an annual fundraiser (2000- 2013) benefitting the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. His work has been featured at the Charles Allis Art Museum, Milwaukee; the World Tattoo Gallery, Chicago; Peter Miller Gallery, Chicago; the James Watrous Gallery, Madison WI; the Overture Center for the Arts, Madison WI; Gallery 1308, the University of Wisconsin – Madison; the Freeport Art Museum, Freeport IL; the Krannert Art Museum, Champaign IL; ARC Chicago; the Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies, NY; and the Conkling Gallery, Minnesota State University. His installation “Woo–Lip System” was included in the seminal Web Jam of 1993 a large collaborative warehouse event in Williamsburg, Brooklyn called Organism. He was the guest curator of Shhh… a 2018 national multimedia exhibition at the Arts and Literature Laboratory, Madison WI. He lives and works in Madison WI and Brooklyn NY.

Cameron Kursél is a maker based in Brooklyn, New York. His work is informed by his experiences in architecture, fabrication, and design. Through object making he explores material application, form, craft, and process. Cameron holds a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies from the University of Wisconsin -Milwaukee (UWM) where he graduated in 2018. His thesis, “Objective Operation / Subjective Evaluation,” was exhibited at the UWM School of Architecture and Urban Planning (2018). He has since furthered his education through participation in experimental design-build workshops such as the Mad International Summer School of Design in Riga, Latvia (2018) and Space Saloon: Fieldworks in Morongo Valley, California (2019). More recently, he produced work under the direction of Deborah Berke for her submission to the “In Memoriam” exhibit at the Yale School of Architecture (2020) and had drawings and objects in the group show “Shop Lobster” (2022) in Brooklyn, NY.