Echoes Of Breath
By Kris Gebhardt
Mixed media 57″ by 43″
In severe cases of cardiovascular disease and other illnesses, when the heart is weak and the lungs fill with fluid, breathing becomes desperate and shallow. This is a raspy hiss instead of a seamless, white noise. Artist Kris Gebhardt is familiar with this tightrope walk between life and death — these echoes of breath resonate from his physical training days with recovering heart attack and cancer patients. The angry imitation of taking in oxygen portrayed in this painting haunts the viewer, while offering some solace at the same time.
Reminiscent of a broken reed on a wind instrument, these Echoes of Breath, each fighting not to be the last, were recorded in the subconscious of Gebhardt, until one day the cadence manifested as a frail beauty dressed for a party. Unclear as to whether she is celebrating her victory or embarking on a battle, her strong chin and upright posture contrast with her ashen skin and gaunt face. Is that a wig with hastily drawn eyebrows or merely a festive scarf to hide her loss?
She is depicted on a scrap of canvas that stands 57” tall x 43” wide and is smaller than many of Gebhardt’s works. This piece symbolizes his non-art career — his other passion — rebuilding the broken, the beaten and the dammed. Once again revisiting his gritty style and somewhat sinister overtones, Echoes of Breath is dedicated to all those whom Kris Gebhardt has helped regain life, mobility and strength.