Kottmann’s style is undeniably unique.
Through the years he’s developed a wholistic approach towards visual representation that sets him apart in his ability to show everything in the landscape at scale and with equal reverence. The natural world is his focus, and he’s wedged open the doors of perception so we can see it as it is (independent of human observation).
Born and raised in St. Louis, MO, he earned his BFA from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, and his MFA from the University of Washington, Seattle. He is currently a Professor Emeritus at AUARTS at Calgary, Alberta, Canada part of the year, and maintains a studio practice in Kansas City, MO the other part of each year.
His travels by car between Kansas City and Calgary, often stopping to observe the vast open spaces, have a very big impact on his work, especially the work in this exhibition.
In the artist’s words: "I begin every painting not wanting to know what I will do or how I'm going to do it ... It's good to embrace doubt ... The big sky and big space, the Rockies, Lake Louise with its cerulean blue, just overwhelm and inspire me; the vast Midwestern spaces affect me the same way".
He has a principle of "Everything, nothing, something”, which informs his process of working through each painting and understanding its origin and potential. This has somehow allowed him to view the landscape from a vantage point beyond physical perception as we commonly experience it.
Kottmann often adds layers from the natural environment, but from an almost cosmic perspective. Absent the formulaic linearity many of us have become accustomed to, we’re afforded a view of everything, all at once. Which can be considered nothing in particular, but is obviously something.
The truth is, because of the way he approaches his mesmeric layer making, we can instantly perceive the grandiose at any scale.
Whether a view of a landscape that goes on for miles beyond the point the human eye can discern, or a rocky shoreline viewed directly from the water, the magnanimous beauty of creation is clear. Kottmann's mode of visual meaning making isn't restricted to any scale.
Join us on the evening of March 17th, 2022 for the reception (5:30 to 7:30 pm) including Don Kottmann’s talk (6:00 pm), or anytime during the exhibition's run through May 7.