Kenn Kotara, Kotara Studio, LLC
Barbe espagnole: It only grows in the South

My Barbe espagnole series is inspired by the botanical phenomena in the Southeastern U.S, known as Spanish moss. The thick curvilinear strands suspended from trees are instantly recognizable, provoking personal memories of a unique history of customs, music & cuisine. Spanish moss is a hanging flowering plant that only grows in the southern United States primarily near coastlines, from Texas to Virginia. While neither moss nor lichen, the often long slender stems grows in curving chain-like masses or structures from tree branches. The image is symbolic of the deep South and Southern Gothic.

Image: Barbe espagnole 17, 2005, mixed media on canvas, 42×42 inches. Private collection, Dallas, TX.

The artwork, though not realistic, represents a strong connection to an idea of a natural symbol relegated to the South. Preserving a sense of light, Barbe espagnole may be thought of as active, dimensional reflections on the origin of form. These works on canvas replicate the structure and behavior of the impressive Southern icon in much the same way…hanging, flowing lines constantly in motion, however subtle.

Image: Barbe espagnole 55, 2012, mixed media on canvas, 96×60 inches. Collection of Asheville Art Museum

Spanish Moss has always interested me with its gossamer beauty and mystery. It only grows within a specific environment in specific regions, but with the barbe espagnole series, I can share this rich history with the world.

Image: Barbe espagnole 59, 2020, mixed media on canvas, 72×48 inches.

Spanish moss folk tales portray love and loss. My barbe espagnole series parallels this process through addition and erasure. Both will continue to grow.

Kotara is a contemporary Asheville, NC artist known for inspiring contemporary art exhibitions and art installations. As a mixed-media abstract artist, he investigates new and analytical approaches responding to repeating patterns of life, both philosophically and visually. For more information on contemporary abstract art pieces including drawing, painting, and sculpture, contact Kotara Studio.