Brief Biography

Ron Routel, Artist

Growing up in Chicago, Kroutel attended The Art Institute of Chicago for studio art courses in painting and drawing and The University of Chicago for academic courses.

After an unsatisfying two year stint teaching Art and English in an area high school, he was motivated to move to Ann Arbor where he earned an MFA in painting at The University of Michigan. He then taught in Detroit for three years at Marygrove College and at The Society of Arts and Crafts, a professional art school.

In 1966 he took a position at Ohio University where he eventually became chair of painting, drawing and foundations for many years. Nationally and internationally exhibited with over 39 solo exhibitions, Kroutel has been awarded three Ohio Arts Council Fellowships, an Arts Midwest NEA Fellowship and numerous prizes and awards. His work most recently has appeared in the book International Painting Annual 1, published by Manifest Gallery.

As a professor at Ohio University, he had the good fortune to teach in a considerable number of Education Abroad programs in London, Prague and Florence.  These experiences profoundly influenced his teaching and his art practice. More recently he finished teaching in Ohio University's London Education Abroad program starting in the summer of the year 2000.

Early in 2018, Kroutel was honored with a retrospective exhibition at the Kennedy Museum of Art in Athens, Ohio entitled "50 Year Journey: Ron Kroutel Paintings."  Taking up the entire museum, the exhibition followed the 50 year developmental trajectory of his work while teaching at Ohio University and working in Athens.  Curated by the internationally recognized film maker Rajko Grlic, a 100 page book in color was published by the museum.

He and his wife, Patrice Wolf, a recognized painter herself, now work in their studios in Old Town, Fort Collins, CO where they moved in 2016.  Since relocating to Fort Collins, he has exhibited his work in a solo exhibition at the Museum of Art Fort Collins, a duo exhibition at the University of Wyoming Art Museum, and most recently a solo exhibition of the Glade Series of drawings and paintings at The Gregory Allicar Museum of Art at CSU, and in galleries in Denver and locally.

His journey continues.

Critics' Comments

"The huge paintings are not just landscapes; they also inhabit the border where human beings intersect nature. For the artist, that intersection can be marked by bland suburban tract houses, huge warehouses or a curving roadway. Although nature is always represented–by a large pine tree, a vine covered pole, a flying crow–the paintings suggest that it hangs in an uneasy balance. The subjects of Kroutel's art are contemporary, but their craft and scale recall 19th century oil paintings."

-Kay Koeninger, Critic and Executive Director, Dayton Visual Arts Center Coming of Age, Riffe Gallery, Columbus, Ohio, 2002.

"For Kroutel, the figure and its environment are "narrative symbols" for the elemental human experiences, ideas and ideals that go beyond racial, geographical and physical differences – the experiences of touching, sensing, moving, etc., responses to universal vitality."

-Dr. Charles Schultz, Director, Zanesville Art Center, The Time Recorder, December 2, 1976

Artist Statement

Over my career as a painter I've alternated between the figure and the landscape of Southeast Ohio.  Now I'm synthesizing the two periods by placing the figure in specific local landscapes. The landscape settings are based on actual contemporary places, times of day, and seasons, but the figures are acting out universal reactions to existence that all humans have always felt regardless of culture: cold, fear, frenzy, joy, anger, etc.  

Since moving to Northern Colorado in 2016, I have tried to understand, through my art, the new western landscape and culture surrounding me, an environment so vastly different from Southeast Ohio.  After working for a couple of years to embed the figure in this new landscape, I have now embarked on a series of pure landscape paintings and drawings where the landscape itself creates the narrative.  

Rather than paint the remote, sublime grandeur of the high mountains, the close landscape around me along the Front Range of Northern Colorado has become my center of interest. Here water use is a major issue.  The proposed NISP Glade Reservoir near Fort Collins is a project that offers me the subject matter to examine the ethical and practical issues involved, the connection between nature and culture  The Glade Valley may be under 280 feet of water soon so my images are a form of pre-nostalgia.

The paintings of Soapstone Prairie Natural Area, a vast protected area near the Wyoming boarder, is essentially an ancient undeveloped landscape and thus becomes a poignant contrast to the threatened landscape of the Glade Valley. 

The questions that the landscapes, figures and techniques bring up about our times are open-ended.  I leave it up to to viewers to provide any more specific interpretations.

In the News

50 Year Journey: Ron Kroutel Paintings
PDF Book  |  Interview

An artist finds the line between man and nature
Ohio In Focus, by Andrea Gibson

Majestic Galleries
Nelsonville, Ohio

Ron Kroutel: Long Moments
Cincinnati Arts Association

Ron Kroutel: Conceptualist Redux
AEQAI, by Marlene Steele

CoFA 75th Anniversary - Ron Kroutel - YouTube

Artist Spotlight: Ron Kroutel

Celebration of Creativity - Ron Kroutel
The Ohio Channel

Kroutel's stop-action paintings arrest viewers
Cincinnati Enquirer

Ron Kroutel - Manifest Gallery
Cincinnati, Ohio

Galleries at CSU Opens Trio of Exhibitions Today
Cleveland Scene

Athens County Artists Spotlighted At Majestic Galleries
WOUB Digital