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Kortlander, John - installation view of Finding and Proving, Stratosphere, and Stampede (l-r).jpg

John Kortlander: Deus Otiosus

John Kortlander: Deus Otiosus

John Kortlander: Deus Otiosus

December 5, 2014 – February 22, 2015

CINCINNATI, Ohio—On Friday, December 5, from 6 to 9 p.m., the Cincinnati Arts Association’s Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery in the Aronoff Center for the Arts will debut three new solo exhibitions that offer contrasting views on the human condition: The Man, a dark and sardonic look at  human progress by Tim Rietenbach; Deus Otiosus, John Kortlander’s dreamlike paintings that pose questions about religious belief; and Spirit Moves, a positive affirmation of the human spirit through the intricately layered figurative paintings of Joyce Phillips Young. (See separate press releases for the concurrent exhibitions by Tim Rietenbach and Joyce Phillips Young.)

John Kortlander’s (Columbus, OH) most recent paintings stem from a project he completed several years ago, One Year of Worship, where he attended a different place of worship (ranging from Catholicism to Buddhism to Scientology) once a week for a year. Kortlander’s primarily black-and-white acrylic paintings feature iconic representations of small floating churches, simplified crosses, and other iconic images in stark isolation or surreal darkened spaces. Deus Otiosus can be translated from Latin as “god at leisure” or “a god who largely retires from the world and is no longer involved in its daily operation.” Through these contemplative and provocative paintings, Kortlander examines the paradox of religion as both a positive and negative force in the complex and often contentious world we live in.

John Kortlander is a professor of fine art at the Columbus College of Art and Design where he teaches a wide variety of courses. He previously taught at the Mercersburg Academy in Mercersburg, PA, where he held the Johnson Chair for Outstanding Teaching and was awarded a Skidmore Fellowship for outstanding artist/educators. He received a bachelor of fine arts from Ohio University in art history in 1981, and a master of fine arts in painting from the University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, in 1983. His paintings and short films have been exhibited in numerous juried, invitational, and gallery exhibits, and in film festivals throughout the United States and Europe including exhibitions at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC; the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, OH; the Studio Arts Center International in Florence, Italy; and the Kulturrathaus in Dresden, Germany.

Read John's Statement Panel