David Kastner began his observations of the surrounding world on his family farm. Chemistry, biology, nature, these early pursuits of knowledge were all the desire to understand the underlying mechanisms and processes of his surrounding environment. International study and travel took him around the world, with his most formative experiences coming from pursuing Art History and Drawing at the Tate Gallery in London, and his MFA in Sculpture at the University of Notre Dame.
Kastner casts his images into many forms – sculpture, paint, ceramics, furniture – using media from the mundane to extremely technical. They all circle around his assertion that the human expression is the artistic expression, and the desire to both understand how the world works, and have that perspective manifest through artistic expression.
By understanding the mechanisms underlying the form, he can take the form apart, breaking it into its smallest components, distilling it into is most basic essence. But better than that, he can put it back together again, not only as it once was, but reshaping it into his own unique view of the world.
Sometimes provocative, sometimes germane, sometimes comical – always observations of a bigger picture that is slightly off center, but on point, if you tilt your head to just the right angle.
Artists George Rickey, David Smith, and Bruce Nauman were residents of northern Indiana, all of whom in some ways influenced Kastner’s focus on life as an artist. While living on his parents midwestern farm, Kastner saw and learned about the power of the natural world. As a child, Kastner demonstrated an intense curiosity about the mechanisms of life seen in the natural environment of his childhood. Early influences pushed the artist toward studies of chemistry, biology, and the processes of natural growth.
In high school, Kastner focused his attention on his academic pursuits, with a special interest in Art. Perhaps the most dramatic influence on Kastner’s pursuits came during time spent in London, England studying Art History and drawing with Laurence Bradbury, lecturer at the Tate Gallery. This time in London. Was a formative phase, exposing Kastner to the world of Art history and the international Art community. After completing his undergraduate education, Kastner worked in various steel and iron foundries, learning mechanical processes, while preparing for a return to the University.
In the late 1970’s Kastner completed a Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture at the University of Norte Dame. Soon after graduating, Kastner began showing his work in exhibitions, mostly in the Midwestern United States. Two exhibitions, one the XVII International Grand Prix d’Arte International, and the second at the Tokyo Central Museum cemented Kastner’ foray into the museum and gallery world.
As the artist matured, he began studies of ancient language, moving from early influences as his personal language of Art began to take form. In talking with the artist, he states that life in its myriad forms serve as source material for artistic exploration. It is this pursuit of learning the complex meaning of life that continues acting as a stimulus and catalyst for the work this artist produces.
Francisco Goya, Katsuhisa Hokusai, Peter Voulkos, Leonardo da Vinci, Peter Brueghel, and many other artists serve as muses for Kastner. He states that many artists are mentors, showing the importance of creative exploration in the history of mankind’s complex cultural history.
While primarily a sculptor, Kastner works as a painter, ceramist, and furniture designer. Technology serves as a mechanism or structure to hold the language of Kastner’s expressions. He talks about the need to explore materials, knowing how they contribute to an overall composition.
Never one to cave into the popular trend of a specific moment, Kastner has pursued excellence in the work he produces rather than any superficial need for notoriety, or commercial gain. He acknowledges the importance of the complexity between art dealers, galleries, museum, publicists, logistics, and artists, but always puts his emphasis of the integrity of the human expression commonly defined as artistic expression.