By Moray Mair (June 2014)
Detlef “Dego” Gotzens has been working with glass, as well as metal, wood and stone, for over 40 years but its painting that he keeps coming back to. Each informing the other his stained glass and design work seeping into the abstraction of his pictures, the colours and forms evolving out of a lifetime of restoration work in Architectural projects, in churches, parliament buildings and cultural centres.
Having begun his artistic life in a stained glass studio in Cologne Gotzens studied glass technology and design near Bonn before immigrating to Canada and opening his own studio. Since that time he’s been painting and heavily involved in restoration projects across the American continent. This desire to find a common visual language through sculpture, painting and stained glass has preoccupied him all his life, each form creating different spaces in which to investigate, his artwork a free expression, a process driven by intuition while his glass work is more calculated, planned and organised.
This ability to play with different materials, forms, processes gives Gotzens art a freshness, each painting a re-examination, part of a whole, with design and gestural elements dominating his dreamscapes, each picture a step in his ongoing quest to find a lexicon that can be equally applied to a window, sculpture or picture. Here’s what he has to say about his work:
Since a very early age I was always drawn to Images, pictures, forms, lines and color, and instinctively felt very comfortable looking at art especially paintings with a sense of wonder and curiosity. I’m constantly in the process to find a visual language that seem to be always changing from one work to the next and every piece is leading me to another place, where I’m wondering again what is behind the next painting or sculpture I’m making? It feels like a never-ending winding track.
I also pursue more than one direction in my paintings because it interest’s me how I react to for example using landscape as a point of departure, where I always use the same landscape view from photographs I take outside my studio during different times of the year as well as various times of the day. I’m equally interested in abstraction and the challenges that lay within it as well as Painting Faces of People that are important to me, for example Musicians that I listen to.
I believe, in my paintings as well as sculptures, there are elements of free expression and then again of controlled form and order, which is certainly a manifestation of my personality showing through or reflecting in my work.