What is it?
Tom Uttech (b. Merrill 1942)
Oil on canvas
91 1/8 x 102 7/8 in.
Gifted 2019, The Art Ball Fund
About the Work
Tom Uttech’s paintings are inspired by his countless pilgrimages deep into the woods of northern Minnesota and the Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. Uttech’s large landscapes present nature at its most magical and have garnered comparisons to indigenous Native American artistic traditions, American Luminism, German and American Romanticism, American Transcendentalism, Surrealism, and Magic Realism.
With its enchanting sky and landscape doubled on the mirror-like surface of water, Nin Gassinsibingwe (“I wipe my tears” in the Ojibwe language), is classic Uttech. As in his other “migration paintings,” a mass exodus of forest animals hastens across the canvas, always right to left and never casting shadows. Clearly, this is no typical annual migration but an arresting spectacle of nature working with singular but unknown purpose.
Uttech was a professor of Art at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee from 1968 until 1998. Since the inclusion of his paintings in the 1975 Whitney Biennial, Uttech’s work has been the subject of over thirty-five one-person exhibitions. His work can be found in the collections of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, among others. The Museum of Wisconsin Art has deep holdings of his paintings from every period as well as comprehensive holdings of his photography.