Don Kauss received his BSA in fine art from UW-Madison in 1995, and his MFA in sculpture from Arizona State University in 2003. Since then, he has lived in a house of his own design/construction outside of Fairbanks, Alaska and in a 100-year old former Land Trust Building in the historic mining town of Bisbee, Arizona. More recently, Kauss and his family settled into a secluded farmstead nestled in a wooded hollow outside of Loganville, Wisconsin. From the arctic tundra to the Sonoran desert to the verdant ridges and draws of the driftless area, he has remained a collector, observer, and maker.
When I was five years old, I stumbled across an abandoned barn while walking in the woods, out behind my grandparents farmhouse in Northern Wisconsin. The old tools, rusty machines, rotten leather horse harnesses, and other scattered items of junk did not register as detritus to me. What I saw was magic in the textures, patinas, and faded colors of the scene I was mesmerized by. Among the debris, several different animal skeletons speckled the scene, and their presence among the other parts and pieces made sense.
Things on this planet have a life, whether plant, animal, or machine. And from the moment they are fabricated/born, they begin to die, until one day their original function expires. Once that line is crossed, objects do not cease from being beautiful. In some cases, I would argue that they become more and more graceful as time passes.
I see relics from a different perspective, a vision transcending the conventional. Although relieved of their intended uses, these objects still possess valuable qualities; form, energy, color (patina), character, as well as symbolic reference. A transformation occurs when these abandoned items are resurrected into meaningful components of a story.
The cycle of death and rebirth is a constantly evolving, never-ending metamorphosis.
524 East Main Street • Stoughton, Wisconsin 53589 • 608-845-6600 • Located just southeast of Madison