From February 24 – March 31, 2012, Open Studio was pleased to present Invocation, an exhibition by Mankato, MN based artist, Erik Waterkotte. The exhibition was accompanied by a text by Minneapolis, MN based writer Brandon Cooke.
Invocation is a word that connotes magic. It can be a prayer of entreaty or a formula for conjuring, or even a petition for help. Erik Waterkotte’s work is an exploration of popular culture, myth and fantasy as conveyed through print and mixed media. He is drawn to ideas and events in popular culture that blur the line between fantasy and reality, finding that these ideas and related imagery act as illustrations for the cultural fragmentation of contemporary society. Waterkotte’s recent work alludes to fantastic, magical, and mystical spaces. Juxtaposed and submerged in the work are images from the films Woodstock and Gimme Shelter, heavy metal album art, the Mormon Tabernacle, alchemical symbolism and ancient ruins. Using appropriation, collage, mixed print media, digital applications and video projection, Waterkotte creates layered imagery that both elucidates and obscures. According to Cooke in the accompanying essay, the sensuousness of Waterkotte’s works draws viewers in before it is quite realized what we are seeing.
Working with collage and printmaking, layering imagery and media, Watterkotte references architectural spaces and landscapes. He sees collage as an act of destruction, building, distortion and reduction. Distortion and reduction are key to his process — he wants the viewer to experience imagery that is temporal, shifting and could easily be peeled apart. Waterkotte is interested in creating works that reference the beauty and terror of the sublime, that walk the line between representation and abstraction, form and formless.
Erik Waterkotte received his MFA from the University of Alberta and his BFA from Illinois State University. He has shown in many group exhibitions internationally, including THENOW Contemporary Prints/Historical Perspectives (University of Minnesota), the Hong Kong Graphic Arts Festival (Hong Kong City Hall), (S)edition, Prints as Activism (Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, Grand Rapids MI), the 2009 China Sanbao International Printmaking Exhibition, and the Edmonton Print International (SNAP Gallery). Recent solo exhibitions took place at Saltgrass Printmakers (Salt Lake City, UT), the Printmaker’s Gallery (Arkansas State University) and Hemingway Gallery (Boise State University, ID). Waterkotte work is included in several university collections and he has participated in numerous print portfolios and residencies. He is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Art at Minnesota State University.