Quality is the first norm for art, but its final norm is love and truth, the enriching of human life, the deepening of our vision.


Kellogg, Ed - VM - Ed Kellogg

Ed Kellogg: Cherokee Creek

The World’s Optical Delights

by Rob Colvin

The rocks in Edward Kellogg’s paintings came before us and afterward they will remain. The water rushing over, between, and under them will outlast you, me, and the existence of this meditation. For Kellogg this is not a somber truth, but instead a source of vitality, of meaning and of awe, that drives him to these subjects and to the large canvases he has prepared for them. No move, no shape, no color, no space permit entrance for a heaviness of spirit. There is far too much luster in his work for that.

Kellogg foregrounds a fluid application of paint and the complexity of hues that lurk in dark spaces. His smears, rubs, and licks of pigment, across the full tonal range, are shot through with light. He achieves this effect by a process of creating patches and drips of saturated acrylic. Next Kellogg approaches the canvas with oil paint on brush and a rag in hand. The adding-and-subtracting method of negotiating the pigmented oil is a process of applying paint, then lifting it off in strategic places, to reveal the charged acrylic colors beneath. These on-and-off exchanges coalesce into mosaics of retinal surprise: the paintings are surrogates of stained glass windows that reveal heightened realities by virtue of their manufactured artifice.

In his earliest days, around the time of graduate school, Kellogg explored abstract painting and assemblages. He found it limited, as some artists did then and far more artists do now, and heeded the call to paint what he loved, a choice not easily made when mimetic representation was anathema. As Hamlet told Horatio, Kellogg goaded the American art critic, Clement Greenberg (1909-1994), “There are more things in heaven and earth… than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

Lily Pond Sky 1 is a downward stare. The surface is not for physical support, but for the reflection of a cloud-divided sky. A dozen lilies or more operate as resting points for some visual “hopping” and register the angle of the water’s surface, which is also the angle of our view.  Here the densities are of pastel shapes whose outlines vary between sharp and diffused. The eye is not directed but allowed to wander freely.

Edward Kellogg’s paintings reflect the passages of time as much as they do the energy of a painter who cannot get enough of the world’s optical delights. The artist is at home in his time and in his place and can therefore absorb life more fully, his and what he has observed. Before us are his testimonies in oil on canvas. What he has seen we can see, rocks, trees, water, and colors in the dark.


Cherokee Creek, 2009, oil, 48" x 72".

Lily Pond Sky 1, 2014, oil, 60" x 96".

River Passing, 2012, oil, 72" x 96". 

Ed Kellogg (b. 1944) developed his early artistic interests studying in the children’s program at the Philadelphia Art Institute. His education included studying painting three years at Wheaton College in Illinois, after which he transferred to San Diego State University receiving a BA in art in 1966 and a MA in painting and printmaking in 1968. After a year of public school teaching and two years in the U.S. Army, he worked and studied under Dutch artist Henk Krijger at Patmos Workshop and Gallery in Toronto, Canada. From 1973 to 2010 he taught at Covenant College on Lookout Mountain, Georgia. He is currently Emeritus Professor of Art at Covenant College and is actively working in his studio in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Kellogg has had over 40 solo shows of his paintings, silk-screen and relief prints in galleries throughout the U.S. as well as in Canada and the Netherlands. His work has been exhibited in numerous group shows including an exhibit of Art from Appalachia titled More Than Land and Sky in the National Museum of American Art in Washington D.C. Kellogg’s paintings of the Tennessee landscape are included in many corporate collections nationwide, as well as in over 30 hospitals, many banks and private collections. His work is also represented in the collections of five southern art museums.

Rob Colvin is a painter and an art writer in New York. He has written for Art Papers, and Hyperallergic, DwellBrooklyn Rail, Art CriticalBurnaway, and other publications, including exhibition catalogues. He has taught courses in painting, drawing, and writing. In addition to a degree in Philosophy and Religion from Covenant College, he holds a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from the University of New Hampshire.

ArtWay Visual Meditation August 5, 2018