Unconventional artist disturbs and inspires

What do Snapple Facts, steel nails and salvaged wood have in common? All are crucial materials in the artwork of Michael Kudela.

A Niagara Falls-based artist, Kudela began his career in the summer of 2001 by painting apartments and moved to working on his own unique creations soon after.

Kudela's art is currently on display in the Kinetic Gallery in the College Union. Almost all of the paintings in the show are on salvaged wood and done in acrylics, but his work with unconventional materials creates the most interest.

Steel nails are hammered into almost half of all his pieces. Although strategically placed for an interesting aesthetic, they evoked a disconcerting air at first glance, and Kudela's use of salvaged wood sends a thought-provoking message about conservation.

In addition to his bold paintings, Kudela also displayed many of his sculptures, likewise made of unusual materials such as wires, wood, and even a Snapple Fact.

Kudela uses thick and expressive brush strokes in his paintings, as well as striking, bold-faced words to capture the attention of the audience and enforce his point of view. His painting style is reminiscent of such abstract masters of modern art as Jackson Pollock and Wassily Kandinsky.

On the other hand, his art also had the undertones of immaturity, often reflecting the tortured soul of a sullen teenager in art school. In "Riptide Mover," the words "Art is a waste of time" are scrawled in almost savage handwriting.

One of the more abstract pieces in the gallery is entitled "Every Delight a Malady," painted on the obituary section of the newspaper.

While the average passers-by may scoff at Kudela's work and chalk it up to being amateurish and too conceptual, the emotion that goes into his pieces cannot be easily ignored. According to Kudela, "Art is an act of disobedience, a statement of liberty."