By Katy Cowan
When you reflect upon the colourful and energetic paintings of New York artist Josef Kote, you can understand why many believe his unique interpretation of nautical scenes, landscapes and cityscapes are completely unmatched.
With an endless expression of mood and emotion, each painted abstract scene shows a perfect harmonic balance between light and colour through the mastery of technique and years of experimenting to find his own style.
As writer Diana Pinck describes on Josef’s biography: “With the lightness of a true master’s hand, he combines classic academic and abstract elements, fusing these, literally letting them run into each other with dripping rivulets of riveting colours and light: by using his signature drip effect along the bottom. Kote’s trademarks are his bold brushwork, and sweeping strokes of vibrant colours applied – more often than not – with a pallet knife while other areas of the canvas are left monochromatic and devoid of detail creating a negative space that lets the eye drift to infinity. The results are paintings that tremble in stillness with energy and light.”
Born in Albania, Kote discovered a love for art when he was just 13 years old, and was accepted into the finest art high school of his native country. In 1984, he went to the Academy of Fine Arts in Tirana, where he was educated in the traditional approach of the old masters. After graduation, he moved to Greece – then later to Toronto. Today, he’s based in New York City where he continues to experiment and paint.
Pinck adds: “Here his paintings and style morphed again. The colours grew bolder, and his style became so unique that it cannot be ascribed to an existing genre. This highly prolific painter, who works on his craft almost daily and long hours, is never satisfied, always seeking, always experimenting, and always growing. Only the future will reveal the great heights his art will ascend. Certainly one thing holds true for all of Kote’s masterworks: they capture shimmering moments in time and space and are filled with light, energy and love for whatever subject he chooses to portray.”