William Kortlander (1925 – 2014) was an American artist and educator. Originally from Michigan, Kortlander was based in Athens, Ohio where he was a professor at Ohio University for more than 30 years. He achieved success with exhibitions in New York and was awarded the Mead Painting of the Year in the 1965 Art Across America Exhibition. Kortlander’s solo shows garnered favorable reviews by prominent New York critics Hilton Kramer and John Canaday.
In the 1960’s America saw a cultural seismic shift and art reflected these changing times. There was an explosion of artistic energy with American artists leading new styles including Pop Art, Minimalism, Abstract Expressionism, Color-field painting. Kortlander was inspired by New York and the art world and infused his paintings with that vitality. The figurative works in this exhibition evoke the raw energy of urban life in a style that integrates color-field influences with a focus on the human experience. The figures are outlined in shapes, with blocks of color. You can feel the action and time does not stand still. These paintings are as alive today as they were when they were made.