Kurtis Brand is a multi-disciplinary contemplative artist and mindfulness/meditation teacher. Through a devoted mindful and transcendent art and teaching practice, he helps people achieve calmer and happier lives.
Brand expresses in art what he realizes through meditation. “This world we occupy is on the brink of extreme change, and it is our job as citizens of this planet to make a positive stand environmentally, emotionally, and intellectually. Contemplative practice is essential to help our culture evolve into the potential of kindness, love, compassion, and empathy.” This part of his work attempts to express the connection we have as people and the oneness of all sentient beings.
For the last decade, Brand has lived in New York, Guatemala, San Francisco, and Connecticut, passionately absorbed in a culture of vast extremes that lends a poetic, immediate, and visceral quality to his work.
The quotidian material culture he interacts with becomes the inspiration for his work. Materials like: volcanic ash from the active and violent volcano, corn masa; the dough used to make tortillas (provides sustenance to a highly impoverished nation), natural plant dyes with upcycled denim fabrics, natural twine cultivated from the maguey cactus, concrete and rebar, sustainably harvested wood for his frames. Each of these materials interests Brand and has been part of his journey.
About the current show: Samu
Meaning “Work practice” in Zen Buddhism, Samu was created in the spirit of minimal art to help clarify a teaching and enable an experiential breakthrough in practice. The performance is as important as the finished work.
Though the minimalist aesthetic is present, the work is also boldly original, both stylistically and conceptually. Shapes are reflected against each other, setting up a yin/yang experience; in this case, a representation of our inner selves and the outer world that surrounds us and, ultimately, the unification and separation of the two. In its succinct clarity of intention, the work is as much intended to be felt (as any good art is) as it is to be seen. These are meditative wall pieces created with mindfulness, clarity, and relaxed focus. Brand wanted to develop a body of work that allowed him to continue his seated meditation practice through his work.
Brand engages in a 30-60 minute meditation with the cut pieces and then immediately starts the work. With each breath, one cut is made, and all of these pieces are finished in one sitting.
Brand was educated at Ohio University in painting and the Maryland Institute College of Art in design. He has exhibited in Ohio, Maryland, District of Columbia, New York, Canada, and Guatemala, amongst other places, and is collected by a diverse group of international patrons.