Response to "Beneath the Narrative"

By Cynthia Teeter

This article is a student response to a piece at “The Art Faculty Exhibition” in Raritan Valley Community College’s Art Gallery.

Christopher Koep's Statement on "Beneath the Narrative"

"Throughout the last year I have made a purposeful endeavor to explore the footprint or shadow of the narrative. Never wanting to make a drawing that spoke of a story or reference to what we see on the surface, I found an ephemeral transitory stage of cognitive. A suggestion to our world might exist within each drawing but yet it cannot be placed, because we are confronted with a completed duality as the drawings produce evidence of my gesture and the materials of art making."

Cynthia Teeters' response to "Beneath the Narrative"

Raritan Valley Community College's "Art Faculty Exhibition" is currently showcasing work from members of the art department. Last Friday I attended the exhibition’s opening reception and heard the artists’ talks, including Christopher Koep’s discussion of capturing his energy and emotion through art.

Christopher Koep’s "Beneath the Narrative", completely covering the back wall of the main room of the gallery and spilling onto a side-wall, is a series of twenty-two large abstract drawings. All twenty-two pieces share a common theme: an exploration of line on paper. For Koep’s work, the Line comes first and foremost. It wanders frenetically over the page creating a helter-skelter but dense mass. Shape appears, mostly in the form of organic circles, but only as the byproduct of the Line overlapping upon itself. Color also appears, but plays a completely subservient role. It usually shows as muted, but even when it exists as bolder blues and purples, it is confined to Line’s form. Negative space is either absent, or when it does appear, it does so on the periphery, acting as the boundary between the drawing and the outside world.

At first glance the collection of drawings are silly, indiscriminate scribbles. But their size and number give credence to the artist’s statement of a purposeful endeavor. He writes of the evidence of his gesture and it is his gesture through a suffused mass of Line that runs up to and over the paper that gives his work boundless energy. Abstract expressionism responds to the artist’s desire to depict a definition of oneself. "Beneath The Narrative" does so by stripping away representation, exposing the energetic layer of emotion below.

Cynthia Teeters
Cynthia Teeters is an art student at Raritan Valley Community College. Her personal website is