COSMIC BABBLE: IS THE SPIRITUAL IN ART "OH SO SEVENTIES?" A REVIEW
GEOFFREY KOETSCH AT ARTISTS' WORKING GROUP SPEAKER SERIES 2/22/2017
Artist Geoffrey Koetsch delivered the first lecture in a new series of lectures by artists being sponsored by Lowell’s Artists’ Working Group (AWG). The slide lecture took place on Wednesday 2/22 in the ALL Gallery, 307 Market Street, Lowell.
Characterizing himself as a “modern man in search of a soul,” Koetsch traced his journey through evangelical Christianity, Jung, Philosophical Yoga, and Zen, describing the colorful mentors who guided him along the way. The talk was illustrated by examples of his artwork in several media, which he describes as the “residue” of his search. He ended the talk with a screening of The Preparation, a video he produced with videographer Jess Schumann. It is documentation of his 2014 performance at The First Biennial Festival of Sound Art and Performance Art at The Quarry in Acton.
Koetsch started his talk by recounting how, when a college freshman taking Philosophy I, his professor said: “If you want to be a philosopher, you must doubt everything.” Inspired, Koetsch resolved to lead a life of “Heroic Doubt.” This vow, however, was continually challenged by eruptions of the spirit, and he now realizes, retrospectively, at age 75, that the spiritual is the dominant thread in his life and art. Throughout the talk, Koetsch ventured into topics as diverse as New Age spirituality, the meaning of the nude in art, and the popularization of Yoga as a “lifestyle” movement.
Koetsch showed recent works, “Wall Compositions,” that he described as representations of the “global soup” we live in today. They are panoramas of “Cosmic Babble,” he says. The works
are mixed media installations that combine photography, painting and sculpture. These works have yet to be seen in public exhibitions, and some of them are studio shots of works in progress. His latest interests are Tantric and Kundalini Yoga and in his talk he revealed for the first time a new sculptural work, “The Great Tantric Wall,” that reflects the new themes. It is a monumental work-in-progress that has occupied the artist for the past year.
On the day following the event Koetsch received the following email from an attendee: “Last night you put forth wonderful organization and explication of a very complex, mysterious subject…you were at the top of your game as a professor and as a deeply thinking artist. You brought tremendous depth and clarity to the evening. The audience was absolutely enthralled… [They} seemed smart, sophisticated and obviously deeply involved with art. P.S. Lowell blows me away.”
The Artists’ Working group is a volunteer association of artist operating independently of any established institution or arts organization. It’s mission is to foster the sense of community among Lowell artists, to address topics of common interest to artists through invitational speaker’s programs and exhibitions, and to recognize the work of noteworthy artists working in the greater Lowell area. Our events are free and open to the public
Koetsch’s work and CV can be see on his website: koetsch.com
The Artists’ Working Group can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org and at email@example.com, or on Facebook. by phone, call 978-877-3788