Fred Gutzeit Artist Statement June 19, 2019
My current decade of artwork is about identity and my overriding concern is to give “Form” to my artwork. Our signatures are self-portraits. Grafitti and tags are stylized signatures. This personal calligraphy is to be a sign of consciousness. It’s the ego fit to the limit of the body–the character of our handwriting. I say “Sig-Nature”, because, in this body of work, I’ve put a human “touch” to the landscape–nature transformation that I had been involved with previously, for more than 10 years–” nature” to “human nature”. Among the public places that my “Nature” Landscape and “Nature” Abstraction paintings were exhibited included the Mansfield Art Center in Ohio and the Conde Naste Building Lobby on Times Square and the Rodale Building Lobby in Mid-town Manhattan.
Musings about quantum mechanics, string theory, and current scientific speculation about multiverses”, brought me to wonder about consciousness. How could I represent human consciousness in thinking about nature? It seemed like I was looking for...human-nature! All my life, in my artwork, I’ve in some way included “line”. I had tried to use my own signature as the beginning of an artwork. I’ve come to think of how we write our names, signatures, handwriting–as an emblem of consciousness. In November 2010, I did a series of drawings from signatures–using the first and last initials. I’ve developed these drawings into watercolors, acrylic panels, large paintings on canvas, digital prints and currently 100 new watercolors. An amalgam of some of the initials drawings became a 13-foot square billboard wall work mounted on the facade of Sideshow Gallery in Brooklyn in 2012. It was part of my first solo show of “Sig-Natures.” To date, I’ve done “SigNature” exhibitions at Tregoning Gallery in Cleveland, Ohio, Brian Morris Gallery, Pratt Manhattan, and VanDerPlas Gallery in New York. A number of these works have been in numerous juried group shows in New York and around the country including the Butler Biennial in Youngstown, Ohio.
“Unfolding” is my guiding idea as I create a body of work, involving making sense of, shaping “findings.” This spirit of evolution includes synthesizing ideas and images from my past work, yet to build on the “unexpected”. This has translated into the “found object” for me, objects in the past as motifs for painting such as discarded timeclock, work gloves, link fences, sidewalk section, sitting dogs, landscape sites, Calabi-Yau manifolds, and currently, “SigNatures.” My job is seeing “Form” as poetry in my “findings.”
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