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About The Artist

Henry Molter grew up near Knoxville, Tennessee, and received a Bachelor of Arts from Goddard College, Plainfield Vermont. After college, while working in advertising in New York, he studied drawing and calligraphy at the Art Students League and served as a docent for the Brooklyn Museum. He returned to Tennessee in 1976 where he built a home and painting studio.

Told simply, I'm an old guy who has spent most of his life in East Tennessee. After taking a few art-related courses in college, I returned to Tennessee with plans to paint.

In the more nuanced narrative, I was in college in the 1960s when museums gave a lot of space to the abstract expressionists — painters who found power and meaning in the relationships of a work’s formal elements. This led me to spend six months studying Joseph Albers "Interaction of Color," and to several years when my painting process followed a strict, formal approach.

The road from abstraction to representation began in the late seventies when a friend invited me to a weekend of fly fishing. After a few hours of novice casting, I put down rod and reel and fixed my attention on the stream. I found far too much to take in -- so much that it required a slow, fixed, meditative approach, not unlike what is required when viewing Alber's series "Homage to the Square." One four-foot-square patch of water yielded simultaneously reflections of the sky and overhanging trees, a journey of ripples, plus a clear view of the stream bottom. One image came forward, another fell back, depending on my focus. It was my first inkling that the elements of a referential landscape painting might be as visually stimulating and emotionally moving as Alber's nests of closely related colors, and that they need not -- as I had previously thought -- be rendered flat and fixed in place.

In my painting and in my life I have respect for delicacy and propriety and the comfort of fixed ideas. But I can't deny I'm more often pulled toward the beauty of impermanence and change. 

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