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Coulter Watt

Painter · Fiction Writer
Born December 18, 1945, Louisville, Kentucky

"My hope is that the viewers' and my perceptions will meet in the mirror of mutual recognition on a common note of expanded understanding. By playing on the enigmatic edge of the surreal that results from incongruously juxtaposing objects, I hope to press the viewer into thinking about the meaning of their interrelationships, and the viewer will have an experience."

Coulter Watt attended The School of Visual Arts in New York City where he studied both Filmmaking and Painting. With equal fervor, he would continue to pursue the two disciplines in his career as he did in his education. For 40 years, Watt worked as a Director of Photography and a Cinema Verite Associate Producer/ Cameraman. During this time, he worked with Robert Drew, the father of American documentary filmmaking. He applied lessons he learned from Drew and from Cartier Bresson's great essay "The Decisive Moment" to his work, and his films received international acclaim. One of his films, Antonia: A Portrait of the Woman with Judy Collins and Jill Goldmilow, was nominated for an Academy Award.
Watt's work as a painter has also proved to be prolific. While exhibiting at galleries such as the Sherry French Gallery in New York City, he was commissioned by Jim Henson to create The Muppet Mural, and his work Home to Intrepid has graced the collection of The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Watt paints in oils in a Flemish technique, considering the master painter Vermeer among his greatest influences. In his still life paintings, Watt explores metaphor using the language of dreams to press the viewer into thinking about the meaning of objects. Watt sees objects as "potent messengers" and considers their evocative power the foundation of his pieces. While drawing on such perennial themes as Greek mythology, psychology, and symbols from Western and Eastern mythology, Watt explores and depicts contemporary issues of the human condition, and he is especially interested in the "objective reality of inner experience."

Image: Coulter Watt, Self Portrait, 2005, photo courtesy of the artist


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