Mind and Freedom

15 May - 13 Jul 2024
Solo show
Wednesday 15 May 2024

Galerie La Forest Divonne is pleased to present a new exhibition by American painter Jeff Kowatch, from May 16 to July 13, 2024 in Paris. The gallery has been working with this American painter since 2008. The title of this new exhibition, «Mind and Freedom», refers to Jeff Kowatch’s painting practice, influenced by his Zen practice, in which he seeks to free himself from the subject to allow the representation of his inner world to emerge on canvas, relying on slow, repetitive gestures and an impressionistic juxtaposition of colors.
The artist has developed a colorist style marked by the great American abstractionists from Mark Rothko to Brice Marden. Applying numerous layers of color through the repetition of a gesture over a long period gives Kowatch’s works an exceptional vibrancy. In terms of technique, the great Flemish painters, Vermeer and Rembrandt in particular, whose linseed oil recipes he has reappropriated, give his paintings the particular effect of depth and transparency, typical of glazes.

Recently, Kowatch has been creating large-format paintings using oil sticks on dibonds, which draw the eye with their generous shapes and incredibly luminous, warm, layered colors. This Californian painter, who has lived in Belgium for the past twenty years, works in parallel with 2 different techniques: glazing on canvas (paintings) and oil sticks on aluminum (drawings). These are two very elaborate and slow techniques, requiring six to eight months of work for the oil sticks, and two to three years for the canvases, on which he superimposes up to a hundred successive layers. It is this layering that gives them exceptional texture, color, and depth over time. Jeff Kowatch was deeply inspired by Monet and the garden at Giverny. His painting is also rooted in a very American abstraction but is built on the techniques of 17th-century European painting, and often
draws on the subjects of still lifes and floral compositions from the Golden Age.

Galerie La Forest Divonne & Moretti Fine Art

For this new exhibition in Paris, Galerie La Forest Divonne has joined forces with Moretti Fine Art – present in London, Monaco and Paris – who will lend a painting by Pier Francesco Cittadini entitled Vase of flowers with Pale of Olives, Salami and cheese, Preserves, a Chalice and a white fringed cloth, 1660, which will be presented alongside works by Jeff Kowatch. The pairing of one of the artist’s works with this large floral bouquet underlines the extent to which Jeff Kowatch’s work is part of the long tradition of painting. Conversely, a painting by Jeff Kowatch will hang at Moretti Fine Art – Paris, located close to the Louvre. Visitors will be able to cross the Seine and admire the dialogue between the artist’s work and masterpieces of the past.

Jeff Kowatch, New Monograph published in May 2024, by Skira

To coincide with the exhibition, Éditions Skira is publishing a major monograph of Jeff Kowatch’s work, tracing the artist’s development from the very beginning. The critical text is written by Juliette Singer, new director of the Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille and the Musée de l’Hospice Comtesse, formerly chief curator at the Petit Palais and chief curator of modern and contemporary art at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.  This monograph will be distributed internationally (French/English text).

Jeff Kowatch’s painting reflects his relationship with the world, steeped in Zen philosophy.
His vibrant, motionless forms, which delicately brush against each other in a blurred effect
characteristic of the artist’s work, open up an almost metaphysical dimension. ”

Juliette Singer, Director of the Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille
Extract from the text of Jeff Kowatch’s monograph, published by Skira in May 2024.



Paris Gallery Weekend 24, 25 and 26 May 2024
Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 from 4 pm to 6 pm
Meeting with Jeff Kowatch and signing of his monograph published by Skira (text by Juliette Singer)

Thursday 6 June at 6.30pm, as part of the Nocturne du Jeudi des Beaux-Arts: ‘L’émotion n’a pas d’âge’ (Emotion has no age)
Guided tour by Jeff Kowatch and Giulia Giustiniani, art historian and director of Moretti Fine Art in Paris.

Wednesday 19 June at 7pm
Meeting and conversation with Jeff Kowatch and Juliette Singer, Director of the Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille and the Musée de l’Hospice Comtesse Wednesday 19 June at 7 pm
Followed by a signing of the monograph published by Skira