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Corvallis Arts Walk Spotlight: Kitzman pushes limits with 'Asian Influence'

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Lee Kitzman October 2019

Lee Kitzman's work will be featured at the Art in the Valley Gallery as part of Thursday's Corvallis Arts Walk. The monthly art event is celebrating its fifth anniversary.

Name: Lee Kitzman

Occupation: Artist and teacher

Hometown: "I grew up in a small town, Fort Lupton, north of Denver, Colorado. It’s a small farming community with, at that time, little art availability."

Exhibit: "Asian Influence"

Location: Art in the Valley Gallery, 209 SW Second St., Corvallis

Media: Stoneware, porcelain, watercolor, and Sumi ink.

About the exhibit: "Skills in Sumi painting have been a goal I have pursued for years... learning how to apply concepts to clay, wall hangings, and 3D pottery, or paper. Sumi brushwork has the quality of boldness and delicacy one seeks as one applies line to paper or colorants to glazes on pottery. The very nature of the medium is difficult in the extreme and I have just barely scratched the surface.

"Line design has been a reoccurring theme for many years and it lends itself to a wide variety of visual effects when applying an absolutely straight line producing an optical illusion on a rounded surface. I began a simple concept many years ago and have made it a goal to see how many ways it can be used on a curved surface. I have not been disappointed. In that time, I developed my own personal style of Sgraffito on a glaze surface using that simple design."

Inspiration: "Creating something out of material that has no end to its possible form interests me whether it is on a flat surface or 3D. It is the essence of Zen where less is more. I find it quite fascinating applying these skills on a 3D surface.

Impact on viewers: "The visual and tactile part of clay is paramount to how I approach my work. Picking up a piece of pottery one should immediately feel its energy and how it registers in one's mind. Differing glazes have very different tactile qualities which become apparent when you have it in your hand.

"Viewing Sumi brushwork, one can place oneself in a 'mind space' and listen to the water ... or the peace of a bird flying above rocky cliffs. The mind makes up the background."

Previous exhibits: California, Oregon, Montana, Washington. Gary Lawrence Galleries, Coos Bay, Lincoln City, Portland and Newport. Corvallis, Philomath Museum and Philomath Open Studios Tour. "I have also been featured on Oregon Art Beat in 2011 with a demonstration of Raku firing."

What should people know: "I have taught art from kindergarten to junior college in my years of teaching, where I have learned more from my students then possibly they from me. (They) have inspired me with their talent and their insight. I continue pushing my own boundaries in both mediums."


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