Michael Krueger (American, b. 1967)
Acrylic and colored pencil on linen
72 x 60 in
Michael Krueger’s formal training in drawing and printmaking informs his approach to painting. His Twilight depicts a closely cropped view of plants and flowers against a backdrop of pure color. Krueger’s foreground imagery is based on photographs he took of wildflowers and grasses native to Kansas and then uploaded to Photoshop. Inspired by artists such as Albrecht Dürer and Thomas Cole, Krueger rearranged the natural forms to compose a semi-natural and semi-manmade view of nature. After painting the canvas background, he projected the Photoshopped image onto the surface where he outlined the forms in colored pencil, a process similar to the printmaker’s use of stencils and one that yields a graphic quality. Krueger evokes twilight through colors that progressively fade from the bottom to the top of the picture. The muddied gray at the base of the composition gently transitions into a soft, glowing orange at the top. The pencil colors also shift, from the red at the bottom to a greenish hue and then a gray that seems to evaporate in the hazy atmosphere. Referring to either dusk or dawn, twilight, a transitional time of day, is richly symbolic; it evokes life and death, birth and renewal, or the passage of time. Krueger’s simple yet layered work provides for many possible meanings.
South Dakota native Michael Krueger (b. 1967), who grew up in a family of artists, received his BFA from the University of South Dakota (1990) and his MFA in drawing and printmaking from the University of Notre Dame (1993). Since 1995, he has served as a faculty member of KU’s Department of Visual Art. Krueger has exhibited internationally in solo and group shows. His works are in numerous private and public collections around the globe, including the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art.
— Emaline Maxfield, MA student in art history at the University of Kansas, April 2019