KEVIN WOLFF | Never Not Looking | April 9 – May 15, 2021
I’m grateful for my wonderful memories of Kevin, among them: a generous surprise birthday dinner he once gave for me; the time he literally fell off his chair at a dinner party after too many martinis; the welcome sight of Kevin in Paris after a terrible day; our shopping trip for an outfit for my opening (Kevin insisted I wear red); and discussing his brilliant diptych BOB, his only language painting, with its symmetrical palindromic relationship to the body.
— Kay Rosen
Provocative, provocateur: Kevin Wolff luxuriated in, reveled in, words—anecdotes from his own life and those whose lives he read of, and vicariously lived through; lines from films, lyrics from songs, truths gleaned from other artists, all took surprising form—became Kevin—specific kernels of insight tucked into his first-inquisitive, then-opinioned, sometimes-un-interrupt-able, side of our conversations.
– Julia Fish
As an artist, Kevin Wolff knowingly and carefully held in suspension a set of engaging contradictions. Few artists that I know have had such a deep reverence for past art—from European painting tradition to be sure, but also from other parts of our world’s cultural history. He was a student always. Yet, while he embraced a representational approach drawn from attributes by these artists that he considered individually, and considered within the broad context of their time, and then in comparison across time, Kevin seems to have felt no stricture, no hand on his hand, as he went about determining his own work in painting and drawing.
— Richard Rezac
To visit Kevin’s studio was to be immersed in the world of his images. Surrounded by his gorgeous paintings, drawings and sculptures, as well as his enormous archive of collected images, the atmosphere was charged with Kevin’s profound love of and belief in, the mysterious power of images and their ability to engage, inspire and delight. Fortunately, his important and richly rewarding art continues to inspire and amaze.
– Richard Deutsch
Kevin’s honesty was sometimes brutal, but it was exactly what his students needed to hear—a rare reality check during a period when they heard a lot of “art talk.” In his art, Kevin was equally provocative and also generous, and so it’s a welcome occasion for Devening Projects to remind us and present an exhibition of his works.
— Mark Pascale
The sense that most informed Kevin’s work was touch. You can see it on the extraordinary surfaces of his paintings and drawings. It’s why nearly everything he created at least references the body or flesh.
– David Scott
I’ve had some great teachers, but he really opened my eyes to seeing at a different level early on. No matter how uncomprehending or disobedient we were as students, he had a great ability to control the room and show us how to look deeply into something. This translated directly into his paintings. No matter how unruly his subjects became, he controlled every inch of those elegant surfaces with an incredible level of precision and wit. What we see in those paintings is what he wants us to see.
– Ben Murray
Kevin was funny, in a dry-witty-kvetch way. His words were edged. He was good at sarcasm. He had a gentle face. In my mind, he always had one eyebrow raised; but oddly, I can’t picture his actual eyebrows, just his eyes (behind his glasses), which were focused and serious. His work has the same edge as his words—intelligent, complex, dark-funny, finely honed. Underneath though, tender, like flesh.
– Anne Harris