Using A Variety of Patterns And Colors, Asheville Artist Creates Order, Adding Beauty And Interest To A Space

Posted on | July 21, 2014 | No Comments

Art does far more than dress up a wall; it adds beauty, complexity and dimension to a home’s design. Art is also far more than a simple arrangement of forms and colors – it’s a window into the artist’s inner world, and an attempt to capture, define and share a feeling or moment in time with the viewer.

One Is Another Mixed Media On Canvas 48 x 48
Images Courtesy of Kotara Studio ©

The works of Asheville artist Kenn Kotara, owner of Kotara Studio, exemplify the drama, beauty and energy an expertly crafted work can convey. Playing with the dualities of chaos and peace, white space and color, and simplicity and complexity, he creates intriguing and beautiful pieces that increasingly grace the homes and offices of many discerning North Carolina art lovers. North Carolina Design talked to Kenn to learn more about his work, and what drives his unique creative vision.

Sinopia Mixed Media On Canvas 36 x 60

Kenn begins each canvas and paper work with a grid, which he layers with meandering, curvilinear lines in a variety of patterns and colors. While his pieces are decidedly modern and abstract, the underlying grid gives them a sense of order and a soothing, meditative quality that adds beauty and interest to a space.

Kisatchie Mixed Media On Canvas 60 x 36

“My work is really my attempt to understand this modern world, which is bombarded by an overload of information and driven by abstractions and chaos,” Kenn explains. “For me, it’s about making sense of the chaos and attempting to simplify it. I use the repetition of curved lines and simple shapes like circles to provide an element that’s relatable and soothing to the eye.”

Acadiana Mixed Media On Canvas 72 x 96

Kenn creates everything from sculptures, to canvas paintings, to installations, and he is always open to any media. “When you break it down, whether it’s paint or oils or pastels, every medium is basically a form of rock and water,” he muses. “It’s just a matter of picking and choosing, and attempting to exploit each medium to its best advantage. Everything is fair game. I’ve even used coffee and food items — anything that can color a substrate is intriguing to me.”

Winter Here Again Is Not My Choice Charcoal & Pastel On Paper 42 x 42

Kenn’s open attitude toward his work extends to his color choices. “As Dale Chihuly said, ‘I never met a color I didn’t like,’” he quips. “I find that each work drives itself, and the colors will depend on what’s happening within the framework of each art piece, whether it needs a high-value contrast or something very subdued. I also go through phases where I might use subdued colors for days or weeks or months, then suddenly find it’s time to use something that jumps off the canvas.”

Treasure Hunt Pastel On Paper 42 x 42

Kenn is intensely creative, and he finds inspiration in many places. “I might come across a newspaper clipping, or see an intriguing shape that triggers an idea,” he reflects. “I am always mentally storing and cataloging new information, and every once in a while a piece just pops out from the gray matter in my brain. I also maintain sketchbooks cataloging my thoughts. As I look through them, I might catch something that didn’t surface two years earlier that I can now expand and extrapolate from.”

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