Erik Waterkotte is an Associate Professor of Print Media in the Department of Art & Art History at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. His creative research utilizes graphic and mixed media to create layered exhibits exploring representations of belief and ideology.
Erik Waterkotte has exhibited his artwork both nationally and internationally with recent exhibitions at the University of Alberta, Canada, the Appleton Museum of Art, Ocala, Florida, and the Landmarks Art Gallery of Texas Tech University. His work is part of several collections including the Weisman Art Museum, at the University of Minnesota and the Purdue University Galleries. Waterkotte has been the recipient of several awards and residencies including an Affiliate Artist Residency at the McColl Center for Art & Innovation. Waterkotte has been a visiting artist at universities throughout the United States. He received his M.F.A. from the University of Alberta and his B.F.A. from Illinois State University.
I am riveted by both the variance and similarity of belief practices throughout human history. Carl Jung wrote “we are moved by forces from within as well as by stimuli from without. These inner motives spring from a deep source that is not made by consciousness... these forces were called mana or spirits, demons and gods. They are as active today as they ever were.” I am inspired by the narratives human beings have created throughout history to explain existence and consciousness. These narratives assume a singularity to human beings while, in turn fantasizing on a supernatural connectivity between human consciousness and all living things. Such historic narrative devices inspired human control over an unruly nature. Since then, over centuries human beings have ruled over the environment, and are now suffering the consequences of dying world. My artwork constructs a human narrative that extols the connectivity of all life and human beings by integrating personal histories with the archetypal and the ecological. I use collage, printmaking, and mixed-media, layering abstract and representational forms, to intersect the inherited and the environmental with the phenomenological. Found and foraged materials intersect on layers of paper. Iconography and archetype are juxtaposed using graphic representations and mark-making based-on my family history, religious-upbringing, and a life-long fascination with belief and the esoteric. My artworks confront and question viewer’s own ideologies through a familiar Occult.