Marie Koetje

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Artist Statement

The historical and archetypal figure of the hermit has provided a loose conceptual framework for my recent paintings. Initially drawn to the theme of reclusion in 17th Century Chinese landscape painting, my interest in the subject grew as I discovered that it offered me a way to verbalize ideas I had been exploring about generative solitude and disengagement as forms of resistance. I came to see the hermit as an allegory for states of being that embody a critical distance from the dominant culture, or as a symbol for a particular kind of longing that is symptomatic of an age characterized by acceleration and excess.

What are the contemporary implications of seeking solitude in today’s culture of social media and hyper connectivity? Perhaps reclusion, daydream, reverie, reflection, and other acts of inwardness take on new meaning in the context of the networks and devices that dictate the rhythm and tempo of contemporary life. Maybe the act of investigating the dimensions of slowness and contemplation, and seeking to bring these and other peripheral spaces into visibility through a language of abstract painting, also acquires new meaning.

I am working to give form to the indistinct thresholds and liminal spaces that exist between distinct entities like inside and outside, night and day, and light and shadow. My paintings assert this by presenting barriers (curtains, cloaks, veils) as underlying compositional structures, using color to evoke transitional times like dusk and twilight, and seeking to create instances in which light and form hover on the edge of perception. My imagery often evokes stains, bodily forms, shadows, wood shards, leaves, fog, remnants of symbols, and fragments of pattern.

Each painting presents me with a new challenge to locate the type of space that I am in, to find my coordinates. I don’t think it is landscape space that I am working with, but it may be something akin to it- like atmosphere, climate or mood. I often feel a sense of discord between “internet time” and my own biorhythms. I find myself turning my attention to perceptual intervals of being-in-the-world: things like weather, the weight of the air, or the color of the light at a certain time of day often become indexes of embodied experience that end up shaping the direction of a particular painting.

It is important for me to create an opportunity for a nuanced viewing experience that can’t be replicated by a digital image on a screen. Because of their close tonal ranges and subtle variations, my paintings tend to replicate poorly as jpeg images. I aim to make complex, quiet paintings that draw you in and hold you. The hope that my work shares a physical space of exchange with the viewer guides my decision-making process in the act of painting. To this end, I have recently begun working with iridescent pigments and matte enamels to create surfaces that appear to shimmer and shift in hue and value depending on lighting conditions and the position of the viewer’s body in space and time.



Born 1978, Grand Rapids MI
Lives and Works in Queens NY


2015 MFA, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
2008 BFA with Honors, School of Visual Arts, New York, NY
2006 Yale Norfolk Summer School of Art & Music, Yale University School of Art, Norfolk, CT


2013 All In, Nationale, Portland, OR
2012 Space Invaders, Vestibule, Portland, OR


2015 Role Over, Rutgers in NY, Gowanus Loft, Brooklyn, NY
2015 Catch & Release, Mason Gross Galleries, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
2014 Welcome Back, Mason Gross Galleries, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
2013 Body Shots, Mason Gross Galleries, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
2012 Still, Archer Gallery, Clark College, Vancouver, WA
2012 Louder Than Bombs (two-­‐person with Mark Schoening), Platform Gallery, Seattle, WA
2012 Highlighter, Nationale, Portland, OR
2011 Nothing To Say, Guerrero Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2011 The Cheaper Show No. 10, Vancouver, BC
2011 The Open Daybook, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), Los Angeles, CA
2010 August Group Show, co-­‐curated by Eddie Martinez, Guerrero Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2008 Individuality/Diversity, SVA Chelsea Gallery, New York, NY
2007 Prime Time, SVA Westside Gallery, New York, NY
2007 So Let Me Give You a Kiss, School of Visual Arts, New York, NY
2006 Yale-­‐Norfolk Summer Show, Yale-­‐Norfolk, Norfolk, CT


2015 Paul Robeson Emerging Artist Award
2015 Dedalus Foundation MFA Fellowship Nominee
2013 Dean’s Scholarship Award, Mason Gross School of the Arts
2011 Oregon Arts Commission Career Opportunity Grant
2008 Fine Arts Department Resource Grant, School of Visual Arts
2008 Sylvia Lipson Allen Memorial Award, School of Visual Arts Alumni Society
2006 Ellen Battell Stoeckel Fellowship, Yale University School of Art
2004 Jack Potter Memorial Award, School of Visual Arts Marie Koetje CV 2


Motley, John, “Marie Koetje Melds Planes of Screens, Canvas”, The Oregonian, p. 29, July 5, 2013
Cappa, Emily, “Weekend Picks”, PORT,, July 7, 2013
Dannen, Laura, “Top Things to See in July: Louder Than Bombs”,, June 21, 2012
Graves, Jen, “The Stranger Suggests: Louder Than Bombs”, The Stranger, V21, #44, p.21, 2012
Glendening, Daniel J., “Highlighter”,, January 27, 2012
Row, D.K., “Highlighter at Nationale”, The Oregonian, p.33, January 13, 2012
Bernstein, Amy, “Highlighter” (essay), Nationale, 2012
Light as a Feather Stiff as a Board, edition of 100, 46 pages, Fast Weapons, Portland, OR, 2010
The Open Daybook, edited by David P. Earle, Mark Batty/Random House, New York, NY, 2010
Christian, Ryan Travis, “Seven Artists of the Week”,, August 11, 2010
Carter, Emily, “Holding Places”,, Feature Issue #50, August 24, 2010
Schulte, Shannon, “Alumni Scholarship Profile”, Visual Arts Journal, V17, p.88, 2009 20/20 (catalog), curated by Ciaran Bennett, School of Visual Arts, New York, NY, p. 32-­‐36, 2008


2014-­‐15 Part-­‐Time Lecturer, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University 2014 Visual Arts Instructor, Mason Gross Extension Division, Rutgers University
2013-­‐15 Mentor, BFA Thesis Mentorship Program, Mason Gross School of the Arts, New Brunswick, NJ
2015 On Abstract, Abstraction, and So Forth, roundtable discussion, Critical Practices Inc., New York, NY
2013 Juror, Undergraduate Annual Exhibition, Mason Gross Galleries, New Brunswick, NJ
2012 Artist Talk, Nationale, Portland, OR