Julia Kottal

Cedar Rapids, IA

Artist’s Statement

The attitude that nature is chaotic and the artist puts order into it is a very absurd point of view, I think. All that we can hope for is to put some order into ourselves. Willem de Kooning

Viewing and painting a land sweep or landscape, I express myself through personal reflection. Memories of the past infuse my current vision and I willingly allow the two to combine past and present mental visions, a blended perspective into my voice. This is how and why I paint landscapes that have elements of times past, but in abstraction. I love to see, as I hope the viewer does, a surprise or a moment that happens in my paintings, either while painting or after completion. It is important to me to keep some sense of traditional order in the landscape, but I also like to let the paint take on a life of its own and lead me to an end result that can be unexpected and seductive.

Plowed rows in fields are reminiscent of a past growing up in rural areas of the Midwest. Retracing routes to nearby towns and farms through endless fields of grain and dirt, being hypnotized by patterns of corn and soybean fields whirling by, and finding hidden objects in clouds and vistas--these are images etched in my brain that continuously return to me.

My work begins with a feeling of a landscape but progresses to a color exploration and a desecration or falling apart of the composition, letting go the prescribed visual references to a landscape and allowing me (and the viewer) to wander and explore. I use a palette knife to apply the oils to give a tactile quality and enhance the painterly and gesture activity.