Wisconsin painter Tom Uttech paints representations of the northern woods with a unique style that carries flavors of realism, magic realism and even primitivism (thinking of Henri Rousseau here).
His moody, often dark woodlands sometimes only hint at the presence of animal life, and at other times are teeming with it, skies filled with birds, and mammals in abundance on the ground.
His compositions are often starkly arranged, with angular, geometric trees and logs at counterpoint with rocks and landforms. Light is rarely direct sunlight, but more evocative of late afternoon, early morning, twilight or even night.
Uttech is also a landscape photographer, and some of the galleries that feature his work (I can’t find a dedicated web presence) also showcase his photographs.
When images of paintings are presented on websites in their frames, I often crop the representative images for display on Lines and Colors due to limited space; but in Uttech’s case, the frames, apparently unique and handmade, are often part of the work — some of them including images of animals and other natural forms carved into their surface.
The largest images and broadest selection I’ve found for Uttech’s work are on the site of the Alexandre Gallery (keep going through the thumbnails of the slideshow).
Some of Uttech’s paintings are on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in DC as part of the exhibition The Singing and the Silence: Birds in Contemporary Art, that runs until February 22, 2015.
There is an available collection of his work: Maganetic North: The Landscapes of Tom Uttech.
10 Replies to “Tom Uttech”
Very nice. They remind me of Caspar David Friedrich’s paintings.
Interesting comparison. Thanks, Andrew.
These are beautifully eerie!
I’m glad you pointed out the frames–they really do add something, once you look.
I lived in Milwaukee for 6 years and people had a love affair with Uttech there. Another case of scale and seeing the piece in person really making a difference.
Thanks, Bill. I wondered about that.
So glad you featured Tom Uttech’s work. I’m one of those Wisconsin people who have a love affair with these paintings. The frames are wonderful and he often paints images on them that compliment the painting. Many times when I’ve been in the northwoods I’ve seen places that looks like a Uttech painting.
Thanks, Pat, both for your thoughts on Uttech and the insight that his portrayals of the north woods are closer to reality than those of us from other areas would know.
These are amazing — I’ve been enjoying your blog for some time as your choices are always good, but usually I’m able to make some comparison to, or see an influence from, a particular school or movement or other artist, but this is the first time I just stared and stared and thought, “I’ve never seen anything like these before.” He has a fabulously unique vision.
Then I read the comments and I do see a little Friedrich in the general atmosphere, though I think Friedrich includes more of the human (albeit on an overwhelmed scale) and architectural in his work. I love the sheer volume of animal nature in Uttech’s work. Fascinating — thank you for bringing this, and so many other intriguing artists, to my attention.
Thanks, Alexandra. They look fascinating, I wish those of us without access to the originals could see them in higher resolution.
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