Knowing Not Knowing, at Matt Drey Arts (presenting with the Kava Collective)
by Mat Gleason
The art of Yehonatan Koenig is a subatomic soiree, every mark-making molecule involved in contributing to a higher purpose along the way.
There is form and structure revealed here, an elegant point in the digressions of a thousand or more marks, each its own act of lending to the whole. This is an art of celebrating the chance to be part of something so much larger than one’s self. The result of the effort is image, subject, liberated form, universal connection, take your pick, the artist is fast at work at either a unified field theory of everything or a discombobulation of ordinary expectations. And with each drawing, perhaps both.
Koenig’s art is a melange of influences too discrete to unearth and then piece back together. In his most recent work, I know I am not alone in seeing the influence of the great abstract master Mark Tobey. There was a point where the abstract expressionists diverged in whether thought or nature were the underpinnings of a great painting. Tobey was on the side of nature; perhaps Koenig’s drawings are taking what Tobey’s elegant calligraphic compositions accomplished and merging it all with the precise tension of Bridget Riley and the universally appealing geometry of Victor Vasarely. The result of this unites possibilities of thought, of the cerebral, with natural, raw form, an achievement wrought from the marriage of discipline and desire, an art of the complex in service to simplicity.
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Featured Image: Yehonatan Koenig’s Shulamith (2022)