An exhibit of artwork by Lee Katzenbach was on display through December at the Gathering Grounds in Patagonia. The watercolor landscapes, pen and ink drawings, and sculptures created from a variety of materials all seemed guided by a wry, spare, tongue-in-cheek perspective.
You may have been introduced to Lee’s art through the drawings he began contributing to PRT more than a year ago. Lee says that, for him, drawing is an essential foundation for the process of creating. Over the years, he has filled countless notebooks with drawings that serve as an ongoing journal for his thoughts and impressions. When I mention that art is communication, Lee says that it seems to him the person he’s seeking to communicate with is himself—noting that drawing sometimes helps him to better understand a mood he’s in, or to respond to it. But if his world view is a private one, it is nevertheless one that draws the viewer’s eye—landscapes that reduce a scene to its essential elements and sketches that reflect the foibles of the human condition.
Lee earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Puget Sound, in Tacoma, Washington, and followed that with drawing classes at the Art Students League in New York. While he continued to make art, he pursued a checkered career path. In the 1980s, he and his wife, Ann, bought an old hotel on an island near Grenada, which they operated for four years, then sold, moving to Port Townsend, Washington. During the time they lived there, rehabbing houses, Lee and a crewmate sailed a 40-foot boat from Port Townsend to New Zealand. (Ann joined him for the last 1,000 miles.)
Lee’s work is in private collections nationally and abroad. If you missed the exhibit at the Gathering Grounds, he says that visitors are welcome at his studio—just give him a call at 394-0098.