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Let the Circle be Unbroken: The Shared Vision of Gretchen and Steve Lotz
July 5, 2019 - December 7, 2019
Gretchen Neumann Lotz
I became a sculptor because I wanted to make the images I saw in my head when I closed my eyes. I knew what I wanted to create, but I had to figure out how to do it. I knew where I wanted to go— but how could I get there? This was not an easy thing for me to do. Untrained in three-dimensional craft, I struggled to recreate the pictures I saw in my inner-vision. All my images seemed to be developing in a consistently personal way.
My sculptural influences have come out of myself, maybe from that secret place that connects us all to something greater. Here are words I like: rescued, ageless, primordial, symbolic, oceanic, mystery, arcane, mythical, wonder, original, timeless, sacred, corporeal, coil of transcendence, uncompromising, temple, undersea, ruins, beginning, unexplained, unsaid, depths, unknown, unspoken, unrecognized, unrealized, unborn, just is, control, out of control, invitation, message, whispers, Argonaut, baroque, pre-history, dreamy, fantasy, magic, organic.
Exhibiting with Steve, having our work actually next to each other’s, always reveals something naively surprising: our symbolic languages share similar compatibilities. There is a synergy. In the fifty-five years that we have been married we have had five shows together.
Gretchen Neumann Lotz
From the 1960s to 2019, the images I’ve made are visual expressions of the thoughts, feelings, and symbols that come from my inner self— or my unconscious. I am not a Realist. I consider myself to be an Organic Imaginative.
“Imaginatives do not copy nature, but rather treat nature in accordance with rules whose origins one cannot find save in the furthest depth of the soul.”
-Charles Baudelaire, 19th century French poet and art critic
“I understand Self to be an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not identify in itself.”
-Carl Gustave Jung , pioneering Swiss psychiatrist
My sources are mostly the beauty of the natural world— its constantly changing liquidity, light, volume, color, textures, and spiraling forms. I want to express the wondrous connections that I feel exist between everything in the cosmos. I do not follow a religious practice, but believe in a spiritual force within us that connects us to all things in the universe. I developed this belief based on a life-long appreciation of Eastern philosophy, the writings of Carl Jung and others, as well as my own personal experiences.
In my recent paintings, I introduce vistas comprised of cloud-filled skies and wide, dark seas with soft and misty atmospheres. The foregrounds contain elements silhouetted in shadow against the sky, with occasional bright highlights causing a leaf, ribbon, flower or bird to glow with ethereal light. These are dream-like visions of transcendent metaphysical realms, related to, but apart from common earthbound reality.
My symbols— I have always wanted to express the balance of what I consider to be masculine and feminine visual forces. I think of the sky, water, birds, and flowers in my images as feminine elements. These are the primary, accepting, binding, connecting and nurturing forces.
My media and techniques— I am primarily a draftsman. From my earliest days at school I constantly drew. In high school, at UCLA and at the University of Florida, I had outstanding instructors who emphasized draftsmanship. During my teaching positions at the University of Florida, Jacksonville University and the University of Central Florida, I especially enjoyed the drawing class assignments.
My most important living emotional source is Gretchen, my wife of 55 years, who is my muse and creative partner.
About the Artist
Gretchen Neumann Lotz
Gretchen Neumann Lotz, by her own admission, had a very unenriched and uncreative childhood— she never drew, colored, or made anything that she would call art. However, Gretchen Lotz enjoyed making her own clothes— and she still does. She grew up in an old Miami, Florida neighborhood, which would later become historic Little Havana.
Gretchen Lotz went to the University of Florida and inexplicably enrolled in a drawing class for which she felt she was totally unprepared. Obviously, art was not for her. Trying to offer solace, her teacher said: “You can always tell a Gretchen Neumann.” Eventually she married that teacher, Steve Lotz, and devoted herself to emotionally supporting his blossoming art career. Still, Gretchen Lotz loved the “language” of “symbols;” so she became an English teacher. She never thought much about “art” again until, two children later, she was watching them play along the shore of Lake Atitlan in the highlands of Guatemala, when she picked up two lava rocks and started shaping unexplained forms. That was when she realized that the written images she was working with wanted to become visual images— they demanded to be born. That was the beginning of consciously trying to give corporeal life to the pictures she saw in her head. She became the sculptor she always had been.
Steve Lotz was educated in California, Florida, and Vienna. He has created a rich visual vocabulary of organic and figurative forms, symbols, and “sources” from his inner life. His works are expressions of his spiritual connections to the world, to nature, and to the cosmos. In 1968, Lotz joined the charter faculty of the University of Central Florida (UCF) to start the Art Department. He stayed on as chairman of the new department for its first ten years. Stepping down as chair, Lotz stayed at UCF until he retired as a Professor Emeritus in 2003. During this period, he established a successful career as a widely recognized artist. His work is included in numerous collections across Florida, London, Scotland and Mexico.
Writing Across the Curriculum
Spiritual Teamwork: The Works In Wife-and-husband Exhibition Display A Natural Affinity For One Another – Orlando Sentinel; March 21, 1999.