Diane Kotila

September 22–December 12, 2020 West Gallery
Installation view: Diane Kotila (Five paintings and two sculptural objects are installed in a room with grey painted walls. Two paintings are installed on the back wall and three paintings on the wall to the right. Two sculptural found objects rest on a rectangular pedestal in the center of the room.)

Diane Kotila, installation view, 2020

Installation view: Diane Kotila (Two paintings that vary significantly in size are installed on a wall aligned to their bottom edges. The larger square painting on the right depicts a pale, bodiless cartoon male head wearing an astonished expression on a painterly black, gray, and white background. The smaller painting depicts a similar cartoon male head with an angry expression and abrupt red marks under the head and both lie on a flat, light yellow background.)

Diane Kotila, installation view, 2020

Installation view: Diane Kotila (An installation view with three paintings installed on a wall to the left, two paintings on a back wall, and two paintings on a wall to the right. Two found object sculptures rest on a rectangular pedestal in the center of the room.)

Diane Kotila, installation view, 2020

Installation view: Diane Kotila (A whimsical installation of three paintings that vary in size hung at different heights and with varying gaps between each painting. The smallest of the three paintings to the left depicts a gray cartoon male head in profile wearing a disgruntled expression. The painting in the center depicts a floating cartoon male head tipped on its side, wearing an aggravated expression against a dark gray background. The painting to the right depicts a similar floating cartoon male head wearing a both confused and surprised expression. It is without a body but there are floating forearms that suggest a shrugging movement.)

Diane Kotila, installation view, 2020

Installation view: Diane Kotila (An installation view with four paintings installed on a wall to the left and one painting on a back wall. Two found object sculptures rest on a rectangular pedestal in the center of the room.)

Diane Kotila, installation view, 2020

Installation view: Diane Kotila (Two paintings that vary slightly in size are installed on a grey wall in a row. The painting to the right depicts a bodiless cartoon male head, tipped on its back, wearing a frustrated expression on a painterly grey background. Dark gestural marks imply that the head is in a corner.  The painting on the left depicts a male bust with a similar head wearing a gray collared shirt and an angry expression. The figure is placed against a dark brown background with a black shadow surrounding the figure.)

Diane Kotila, installation view, 2020

Installation view: Diane Kotila (Three paintings are installed on a wall, with two found object sculptures laying on a rectangular pedestal in the foreground.)

Diane Kotila, installation view, 2020

Installation view: Diane Kotila (A close-up of two found object sculptures installed on a pedestal. The object at the top is a saw with its blade painted in muted peach tones. The object at the bottom consists of two hammers which are joined at the butt and its handles painted in a darker, redder tone.)

Diane Kotila, installation view, 2020

Diane Kotila Untitled, 2020 Oil on linen wrapped panel 40 x 30 in. (A portrait-orientation painting of a bodiless cartoon head wearing a displeased expression. The head is painted in a peachy flesh tone and is placed on a nearly black umber background.)

Diane Kotila
Untitled, 2020
Oil on linen wrapped panel
40 × 30 in.

Diane Kotila Untitled, 2020 Oil on linen wrapped panel 30 x 30 in. (A square painting of a bodiless cartoon male head head wearing an aggravated expression lying on it's side on a dark gray ground. The head is painted in light-flesh tones and is placed against a lighter gray background.)

Diane Kotila
Untitled, 2020
Oil on linen wrapped panel
30 × 30 in.

Diane Kotila Untitled, 2020 Oil on linen wrapped panel 40 x 40 in. (A square painting of a cartoon male bust with a light-flesh toned head wearing a gray collared shirt and an angry expression. The figure is placed against a dark brown background with a black shadow surrounding the figure.)

Diane Kotila
Untitled, 2020
Oil on linen wrapped panel
40 × 40 in.

Press Release

White Columns is pleased to present the first solo exhibition by the New York-based artist Diane Kotila. Kotila’s exhibition comprises a group of nine recent oil-on-linen paintings and two painted sculptural works.

Writing about her approach, Kotila has described her painting as “an exploration of historically and culturally familiar portraiture tropes.  A study of figuration colliding with abstraction, the meeting point unknowable and elusive.” Each of Kotila’s paintings features a disembodied or decapitated portrait-like image based on the Belgian cartoon character Tintin. Kotila has stated that: “In this body of work, I turned to classic strategies, using Caravaggio and Velázquez among others as sources, as a starting point, using the face of Tintin as a vessel or a foil. Like many cartoon characters, the face of Tintin consists of a rudimentary set of marks treated with great consistency to evoke the full range of human emotion. But no absolutes exist in this realm of interpretation. By beheading the character, isolating the features from the body and any external context, the subject is slippery and deceptive. In spite of the invitation to be easily grasped, the expression turns over and over, remaining unresolved.”

Kotila’s visceral work is characterized by an uneasy tension that is established between her depictions of violence and the typically mordant sense of the comedic that underscores her approach. A sense of rupture and fragmentation prevails throughout Kotila’s work. Foregrounding a series of oppositional formal devices – e.g. light/dark, humor/horror, etc. – Kotila’s work actively explores uncomfortable truths. Like the work of artists as distinct as Philip Guston, Leon Golub, Bruce Nauman, and Joyce Pensato, among others, Diane Kotila’s work ultimately seeks to both illuminate and interrogate the violence – emotional, psychological, and societal – that continues to shape and condition La Comédie humaine.

Diane Kotila (b. 1965) lives and works in New York. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Western Michigan University in 1986. Her work has previously been presented at Miart, Milan by Anthony Reynolds Gallery (2018); S|2 London gallery, Sotheby’s, London (2019); and by Kenny Schachter at the Felix Art Fair, Los Angeles (2020.)

For further information, contact: info@whitecolumns.org

Installation view: Diane Kotila (Five paintings and two sculptural objects are installed in a room with grey painted walls. Two paintings are installed on the back wall and three paintings on the wall to the right. Two sculptural found objects rest on a rectangular pedestal in the center of the room.)
Installation view: Diane Kotila (Two paintings that vary significantly in size are installed on a wall aligned to their bottom edges. The larger square painting on the right depicts a pale, bodiless cartoon male head wearing an astonished expression on a painterly black, gray, and white background. The smaller painting depicts a similar cartoon male head with an angry expression and abrupt red marks under the head and both lie on a flat, light yellow background.)
Installation view: Diane Kotila (An installation view with three paintings installed on a wall to the left, two paintings on a back wall, and two paintings on a wall to the right. Two found object sculptures rest on a rectangular pedestal in the center of the room.)
Installation view: Diane Kotila (A whimsical installation of three paintings that vary in size hung at different heights and with varying gaps between each painting. The smallest of the three paintings to the left depicts a gray cartoon male head in profile wearing a disgruntled expression. The painting in the center depicts a floating cartoon male head tipped on its side, wearing an aggravated expression against a dark gray background. The painting to the right depicts a similar floating cartoon male head wearing a both confused and surprised expression. It is without a body but there are floating forearms that suggest a shrugging movement.)
Installation view: Diane Kotila (An installation view with four paintings installed on a wall to the left and one painting on a back wall. Two found object sculptures rest on a rectangular pedestal in the center of the room.)
Installation view: Diane Kotila (Two paintings that vary slightly in size are installed on a grey wall in a row. The painting to the right depicts a bodiless cartoon male head, tipped on its back, wearing a frustrated expression on a painterly grey background. Dark gestural marks imply that the head is in a corner.  The painting on the left depicts a male bust with a similar head wearing a gray collared shirt and an angry expression. The figure is placed against a dark brown background with a black shadow surrounding the figure.)
Installation view: Diane Kotila (Three paintings are installed on a wall, with two found object sculptures laying on a rectangular pedestal in the foreground.)
Installation view: Diane Kotila (A close-up of two found object sculptures installed on a pedestal. The object at the top is a saw with its blade painted in muted peach tones. The object at the bottom consists of two hammers which are joined at the butt and its handles painted in a darker, redder tone.)
Diane Kotila Untitled, 2020 Oil on linen wrapped panel 40 x 30 in. (A portrait-orientation painting of a bodiless cartoon head wearing a displeased expression. The head is painted in a peachy flesh tone and is placed on a nearly black umber background.)
Diane Kotila Untitled, 2020 Oil on linen wrapped panel 30 x 30 in. (A square painting of a bodiless cartoon male head head wearing an aggravated expression lying on it's side on a dark gray ground. The head is painted in light-flesh tones and is placed against a lighter gray background.)
Diane Kotila Untitled, 2020 Oil on linen wrapped panel 40 x 40 in. (A square painting of a cartoon male bust with a light-flesh toned head wearing a gray collared shirt and an angry expression. The figure is placed against a dark brown background with a black shadow surrounding the figure.)

Installation view: Diane Kotila (Five paintings and two sculptural objects are installed in a room with grey painted walls. Two paintings are installed on the back wall and three paintings on the wall to the right. Two sculptural found objects rest on a rectangular pedestal in the center of the room.)

Installation view: Diane Kotila (Two paintings that vary significantly in size are installed on a wall aligned to their bottom edges. The larger square painting on the right depicts a pale, bodiless cartoon male head wearing an astonished expression on a painterly black, gray, and white background. The smaller painting depicts a similar cartoon male head with an angry expression and abrupt red marks under the head and both lie on a flat, light yellow background.)

Installation view: Diane Kotila (An installation view with three paintings installed on a wall to the left, two paintings on a back wall, and two paintings on a wall to the right. Two found object sculptures rest on a rectangular pedestal in the center of the room.)

Installation view: Diane Kotila (A whimsical installation of three paintings that vary in size hung at different heights and with varying gaps between each painting. The smallest of the three paintings to the left depicts a gray cartoon male head in profile wearing a disgruntled expression. The painting in the center depicts a floating cartoon male head tipped on its side, wearing an aggravated expression against a dark gray background. The painting to the right depicts a similar floating cartoon male head wearing a both confused and surprised expression. It is without a body but there are floating forearms that suggest a shrugging movement.)

Installation view: Diane Kotila (An installation view with four paintings installed on a wall to the left and one painting on a back wall. Two found object sculptures rest on a rectangular pedestal in the center of the room.)

Installation view: Diane Kotila (Two paintings that vary slightly in size are installed on a grey wall in a row. The painting to the right depicts a bodiless cartoon male head, tipped on its back, wearing a frustrated expression on a painterly grey background. Dark gestural marks imply that the head is in a corner. The painting on the left depicts a male bust with a similar head wearing a gray collared shirt and an angry expression. The figure is placed against a dark brown background with a black shadow surrounding the figure.)

Installation view: Diane Kotila (Three paintings are installed on a wall, with two found object sculptures laying on a rectangular pedestal in the foreground.)

Installation view: Diane Kotila (A close-up of two found object sculptures installed on a pedestal. The object at the top is a saw with its blade painted in muted peach tones. The object at the bottom consists of two hammers which are joined at the butt and its handles painted idarker, redder tone.)

Diane Kotila
Untitled, 2020
Oil on linen wrapped panel
40 × 30 in. (A portrait-orientation painting of a bodiless cartoon head wearing a displeased expression. The head is painted in a peachy flesh tone and is placed on a nearly black umber background.)

Diane Kotila
Untitled, 2020
Oil on linen wrapped panel
30 × 30 in. (A square painting of a bodiless cartoon male head head wearing an aggravated expression lying on it’s side on a dark gray ground. The head is painted in light-flesh tones and is placed against a lighter gray background.)

Diane Kotila
Untitled, 2020
Oil on linen wrapped panel
40 × 40 in. (A square painting of a cartoon male bust with a light-flesh toned head wearing a gray collared shirt and an angry expression. The figure is placed against a dark brown background with a black shadow surrounding the figure.)