Paul Kotula: Recent Work

May 6th - May 29th, 2011

Paul Kotula received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Wayne State University, Detroit, MI and his Master of Fine Arts from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 1989. His career has been rich and varied. Currently he is an Assistant Professor in Ceramics at Michigan State University; owner and director of Paul Kotula Projects, a contemporary art gallery in suburban Detroit; and a practicing artist creating tableware. This exhibition includes Kotula’s latest works for the table – beautifully articulated and refined plates and bowls.

Kotula is part of a generation of makers who are redefining ceramics and the use of clay in contemporary art practices. Highly original in form and concept, his work, at its best, references painting, sculpture, design and craft, and borrows from Eastern and Western traditions. This synthesis is the reason for the originality of his work. In making, Kotula uses a variety of building techniques, throwing on the wheel, pinching and hand building with slabs. Each contributes a different voice to his chorus, yet all are in harmony. Each piece of Kotula's work, regardless of their method of making , share a universal sensitivity and quietly refined aesthetic.

The purity and grace of Kotula’s forms become the perfect vehicle for his incredibly thoughtful surface treatments created with glaze. By combining matte with shiny surfaces he exploits the different ways each interacts with light, flat even color with glazes of variation and depths, and by juxtaposing a straight glaze line with an organic shape of a different glaze, Kotula creates inspired contemplative paintings. These seemingly simple choices are anything but. Kotula removes all that is extraneous, reducing both form and surface to there most base elements greatly emphasizing the importance of each decision he makes. His sensitivity to his material choices, the strength and originality of his forms, and his beautifully designed compositions pay homage to the field of design, while his mastery of material, technical prowess, and meticulous craftsmanship are rooted in his partially based crafts education. It's truly a winning combination.