International Sculpture Center
Facebook Twitter Instagram

Sculpture cover



      Back to Directory Search

Kenn Kotara

190 country club rd
Asheville, NC 28804-3650, U.S.A.
View Map

Phone: 828 236-2265     Fax: 828 252-1207

More Information

Click image to enlarge.

Born in Lake Charles, LA in 1960, Kenn Kotara had an early affinity for art. Especially drawn to the work of Audubon, in grade school he produced his own color studies of ducks, geese, and other wild life. The son of an oil engineer, Kotara was encouraged to put his interest in art to practical use, and majored in architecture at Louisiana Tech University. During his fourth year of study he left the architecture program. In 1990, Kotara received a BA in Graphic Design from Louisiana Tech. His first figure drawing class, which he took in 1988, proved pivotal and lead to his studying fine arts on the graduate level, receiving his MFA from the same school in 1993. Kotara’s first interest was in representational work, and during the 1980s he produced a series of landscapes in pen and ink. While his work is now abstract, Kotara still maintains a deep connection in his art to the landscape of his native Louisiana with its rivers, bayous, and lush vegetation, especially Spanish moss, which appears as a motif in a number of works. His drawings and paintings also reflect the landscape of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Kotara lives in Ashville with his wife and son. Kotara acknowledges a core group of painters as primary influences on his work. He saw in Cezanne a model for approaching nature with an emphasis on structure. In Matisse he found an artist who was able to re-imagine the pictorial function of both abstract space and the decorative impulse. He also feels a kinship with the modern masters Klee and Nevelson. The artist Richard Diebenkorn was inspiration both in his abstract Ocean Park series. He directly influenced Kotara’s works of the mid-1990’s using rectilinear forms. Beginning in 1999, he began using circular shapes in the on-going series of Tonal Drawings, which uses a grid as the basis for creating networks of curvilinear lines. The pastel drawings have been produced in monotone, duotone, and, tritone versions. The Short Stories series of collages combines drawings into complex interlocking compositions. Concurrent with the drawings have been a series of acrylic paintings that explore similar curvilinear motifs, employing many layers of pigment and matte medium. These have evolved into his Barbe espagnol, or Spanish Moss, series on both canvas and paper.



  • Asheville Art Museum
  • Bellagio, Las Vegas
  • City of Asheville
  • Fidelity Investments, Charlotte
  • Hilton, Phoenix
  • GE Power Systems, Atlanta
  • Louisiana State Museum, Baton Rouge
  • Masur Museum of Art, Monroe
  • Neiman Marcus, Dallas
  • Park Hyatt Hotel, Washington DC
  • SAS Institute, Raleigh
  • Sumisho, Tokyo, Japan
  • Sun City, Japan
  • U. S. Embassy, Jamaica
  • Wachovia National Bank, Charlotte


  • Barber, Marsha, Landscapes of the Mind, Mountain Express, Sept. 29, 1999
  • Bostic, Connie, Men Plan, Women Perceive, Mountain Xpress, March 29. 2006
  • Celebrating Creativity in Western North Carolina, The Center for Craft, Creativity and Design, 2001
  • Endings and Beginnings, Millennial Juried Exhibition, Asheville Art Museum, 2000
  • Greenberg, Blue, Big Painting, The Herald-Sun, Aug. 27, 1999
  • Hess, Jean, Endings and Beginnings, Art Papers, July-Aug. 2001
  • Hopes, David, Endings and Beginnings, Asheville Citizen-Times, Dec. 10, 2000
  • Hopes, David, A colorful collection, Asheville Citizen-Times, Dec. 20, 1998
  • Strauss, R. B., Painting the Picture, Around Philly, June 15, 2001
  • Winkler, Arlene, Kenn Kotara: Portrait, WNC Woman, June, 2006




  • Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT, 2002




  • Faculty, A-B Tech Community College, Asheville, NC. 2000-2006
  • Adjunct Professor, University of North Carolina-Asheville, Asheville, NC. 2000-2001



  • Public Art Board, City of Asheville, 2000-2003 (Chair, 2001-2003), 2006 - present
  • Art Advisory Committee, Texas Woman’s University, 1995-1996




  • Master of Fine Arts, Studio - 2D, Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA, 1993
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA, 1990










Selected Solo Exhibitions


  • Cubitum: measure of a man, The Upstairs Artspace, Tryon, NC, 2006
  • Linear Stories/Circular visions, Gallery C, Raleigh, NC, 2005
  • Short Stories, tones & reticulations, Wesley Lake Gallery, Asbury Park, NJ, 2005
  • Compilation, Sandler Hudson Gallery, Atlanta, GA, 2003
  • Short Stories, Gallery C, Raleigh, NC, 2003 \
  • New Work, Wyndy Morehead Fine Art, New Orleans, LA, 2000
  • Recent Works, Louisiana Tech Art Gallery, Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA, 1998


Selected Group Exhibitions


  • Art on Paper, Weatherspoon Museum of Art, University of North Carolina - Greensboro
  • Paper One, Thomas Werner Gallery, New York
  • Selections from the Permanent Collection, Masur Museum, Monroe
  • Works on Paper from the Permanent Collection, Asheville Art Museum
  • Way Cool, Koelsch Gallery, Houston
  • Introduction: Mixed Media Work, Pentimenti Gallery, Philadelphia
  • Four Person Show, Gallery Lombardi, Austin
  • Endings and Beginnings, Asheville Art Museum, Asheville
  • Works On Paper, LSU Union Art Gallery, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
  • Twenty-Seventh Annual Competition for North Carolina Artists, Fayetteville Museum of Art
  • Pablo Picasso, Homage to a Modern Icon, Fraser Gallery, Georgetown, Washington, DC
  • LaGrange National XX Biennial, Chattahoochee Valley Art Museum, LaGrange
  • Neo Landscape, National Competition, Chicago Southland Arts Incubator, Chicago
  • Indifference, Center for Contemporary Arts, Shreveport
  • Discovery: rising new stars, Adkins-Hoover Gallery, Dallas


Selected Collections