Artist Feature: Dr. Keith Kattner & NYA Gallery Opening

On March 7, 2019, Shane Townley and his team will expand NYA Gallery to 7 Franklin Place, a multi-purpose cultural institution conceived as a significant site for artistic expression in Tribeca. The new venue will comprise 9,000 square feet across 3 floors for artistic production, collaboration, and exhibition with a robust schedule of public programming slated for later this year. The gallery will feature 1,000 square feet of stunning exhibition space on the ground level, 22 artist studios, and an extensive 1,500-square-foot fine art storage facility for framing, crating, and shipping. The historic opening will coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Armory Show as well as Tribeca Arts & Culture Night. A group exhibition featuring select gallery artists will accompany the opening and reception from 6-9pm.

One of the artists that will be featured in the opening group show is Dr. Keith Kattner. After a fulfilling career as a neurosurgeon in Illinois, Kattner turned his time and talents toward the cultivation of a studio practice rooted in the vaunted academic conventions and techniques of oil painting in the Western tradition. Since 2010 he has devoted himself to completing studies after respected landscape masters, taking hikes and executing preparatory drawings, and developing a personal artistic style that incorporates approaches and themes of past masters, such as Nicholas Poussin, Claude Lorrain, J.M.W. Turner, and the Hudson River School painters.

His balanced compositions contain strategically layered planes that lead the viewer deeper into each scene. Figures have a strong linear quality and are positioned in the foreground, which contrasts with the hazy atmospheric effects typically seen in the distance. Kattner’s emulation and adoption of this highly precise manner of figural rendering is partially due to his specialized training as a surgeon. Soft light is diffused throughout each narrative, creating a strong sense of placidity. In many instances, his works recall idyllic bathing scenes that were a common subject for academic painters in the nineteenth century. Kattner’s picturesque paintings thoughtfully explore themes related to the history of civilizations, infrastructure, ancient mythologies, labors related to the cycles of the seasons, and the fraught relationship between the natural and built environments.


Keith Kattner, Classical Study Four, After Turner, 2016. Oil on canvas, 24 x 30 inches.