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Mosaics for May in the UUFDC Gallery

By Estella Lauter

Joseph Kaftan received his BA from UW-Madison and later studied graphic design at The American University. He has worked as a graphic designer in Green Bay and Seattle. He currently works from mosaic studios in Seattle and Door County.

Kaftan is a kayak guide/instructor and fisherman. Thus, his mosaics depict waterscapes, birds, and fish. He uses sheet/stain/fused glass and smalti glass, in both the direct and double-indirect methods.

Past and future shows include: The Ballard Landmark Gallery in Seattle; Hanford Gallery, Tacoma; b2 Fine Arts, Tacoma; Crow Valley Gallery, Orcas Island; Art House Gallery, Kauai, HA; Flying Pig Gallery; Popelka Trenchard Glass; and Base Camp Coffee.

Kaftan grew up with an intense attraction to colored light, from the brightly tinted plastic of children’s toys, to fireworks shows, to the prismatic rays from his family’s blown glass collection. His father made smalti mosaics in a folk art style but also drew from the flat decorative mosaics of archaeology and the classical world. When his father had a stroke, Joe completed a long-planned mosaic, connecting with the physicality of glass – its transparency and reflectiveness, and the tactile quality of shaping and painting with light.

Green Trout
Green Trout

His mosaics combine a search for the iconic with an impressionistic interest in the way splashes of colored light suggest waves and clouds, feathers and scales. He is inspired by the way form reveals itself through motion in tableaus of color on a seemingly still day,

Kaftan also draws on the history of representing nature, from naturalist illustrations, taxidermy, landscape painting and wood block prints. He aims to capture the universal in the everyday, and the sacred in luminous nature.

The public is invited to a reception on Sunday, May 3, 12-2:00 pm in the Gallery.