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’s style marked by the great American abstractionists from Mark Rothko to Brice Marden. The application of numerous layers of color through the repetition of a gesture over a long period of time gives Kowatch’s works a very special vibrancy. In terms of technique, it’s the great Flemish painters, Vermeer and Rembrandt in particular, whose linseed oil recipes he has reappropriated, that give his paintings the particular effect of depth and transparency, typical of glazes.

Recently, Kowatch has been creating largeformat 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 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, Monograph to be 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, chief curator at the Petit Palais, formerly chief curator of modern and contemporary art at the Louvre Abu Dhabi. She will take up her new position as Director of the Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille and the Musée de l’Hospice Comtesse, in April. This monograph will be distributed internationally (French/English text).
Publication in May 2024.


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 Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lille (in post from April 1, 2024).
Extract from the text of Jeff Kowatch’s monograph, to be published by Skira in May 2024.