The mesmerizing, large-scale, boldly colored canvases of modern artist Nicholas Kontaxis of Rancho Mirage, California, will be featured for one night at Heather James Fine Art in Palm Desert on March 17th from 5 to 7pm. A number of his paintings will be sold to benefit the Eisenhower Medical Center Foundation. The fact that this show is taking place at all – and that Kontaxis has come to a place in his life where he can express himself creatively – is nothing short of a miracle. It also is a testament to the love and devotion of his parents, Krisann and Euthym Kontaxis, his extended family and a vast network of friends and care-givers.
The 22-year-old painter’s story is one of perseverance and hope. When he was 15 months old, Kontaxis was diagnosed with an extensive brain tumor. This resulted in intractable seizures, autism, and developmental delay. Intensive medical treatment and behavioral therapy have allowed him to lead a remarkably full life despite significant communication issues and suffering five and 15 seizures a day.
His repetitive inclinations and love of texture and shape helped Kontaxis discover his life calling as an artist. In the last three years, he has become a prolific painter, creating more than 100 complex pieces. Using heavy body acrylic paints and a battalion of pallet knives, he specializes in large, abstract works of art. In the past six months, Kontaxis has completed many important commissions, including those for Kaiser Permanente and El Paseo Hotel, and has displayed his work at the Heath Gallery in Palm Springs, the Gilman Contemporary in Sun Valley, Idaho, and the De Re Gallery in Los Angeles -- where a crowd of nearly 1,000 art lovers viewed his work in four hours.
Kontaxis paints six to eight hours per day. “His speech is limited,” says Krisann, his mother and manager. “There’s a 13-second delay in his response time. But we catalog everything he says while he’s painting. When Nicholas completes a work, we read back to him the words and phrases he spoke during painting. He picks the one he likes the best and that becomes the title of the piece.”
“Heather James Fine Arts’ enthusiasm for Nicholas’ work made the decision to do a solo pop-up show for the artist an easy one,” says Jim Carona, owner of Heather James Fine Art. “Our interest was piqued by the incredible talent of this young artist to create meaningful, energizing compositions through color and canvas. His body of work illustrates the power art has to help overcome life’s obstacles.”
“Painting has served as a respite for the artist over the years, helping ease some of the pain associated with daily physical challenges,” says Montana Beutler, partner at Heather James Fine Art in New York City. “Nicholas’ story is similar to that of numerous other prominent figures throughout art history: Van Gogh had temporal lobe epilepsy, which many believe contributed greatly to his expressionistic use of color; Matisse became wheelchair bound after surgery for cancer, and adapted his abilities to produce his now iconic cut-out series; Chuck Close is one of the contemporary art world’s most famous portrait painters despite being paralyzed and suffering from prosopagnosia, or face blindness.”
“We are honored and excited to share Nicholas’ work with his hometown in the desert area,” adds Beutler.
Heather James Fine Art is located at 45188 Portola Avenue in Palm Desert, CA 92260.
For more information about the Nicholas Kontaxis show and Heather James Fine Arts’ galleries and exhibitions nationwide, visit our website or call 760-346-8926.
NOTE: It is always a good idea to verify date, time, location and other information prior to going.
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