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The Story Behind the Art at Egypt Valley


Have you noticed some of the artwork around Egypt Valley Country Club lately?

If so, you may be wondering who created the art—and the stories behind them. If you haven’t already, take a moment next time you’re here to appreciate some stellar art that lives within the heart of Egypt Valley.

The Valley Room | Joseph Kote & Justin Kellner
The paintings of Joseph Kote are symphonies of light and color. They’re lyrically stunning and romantic; edgy and current. Kote achieves this delicate balance of seemingly contradictory qualities through his complete mastery of technique and years of experimenting to find his own unique style. Trademarks are his bold brushwork and sweeping strokes of vibrant colors applied—more often than not—with a pallet knife, while other areas of the canvas are left monochromatic and devoid of detail, creating a negative space that lets the eye drift to infinity.

Albanian-born Kote began his journey toward artistic self-discovery in his youth and, from a young age, was endlessly drawing and had the innate urge to create. He was ultimately awarded a coveted spot at the National Lyceum of Arts in Tirana.

Justin Kellner—who studied Painting at Kendall College of Art & Design and Painting/Drawing, Sculpture and Art History at Central Michigan University—utilizes the natural forms and textures of landscapes in his artwork. He draws upon visual cues from past encounters to achieve a balance between realism and abstraction.

Kellner’s intent with his art is to evoke memories and a sense of place and time as he portrays the interrupted cycles existing throughout the natural world’s various ecosystems.

Both artists’ works can be viewed in the Valley Room at Egypt Valley.

The Lounge | Rick Stevens
Rick Stevens predominantly paints landscapes, yet avoids describing himself purely as a landscape artist, since light is his primary interest.

“I see light as a unifying element,” said Stevens, who studied at Aquinas College, Kendall College of Art & Design and Grand Rapids Community College. “The critical concern for me has always been not just the subject and composition, but choosing the light to portray it in.”

Stevens’ interest in painting the natural world began when he was a child in Michigan, painting alongside his father. Today, he lives in Santa Fe, where he paints en plain air as well as from memory. His oeuvre includes representational works and expressive abstractions, along with experiments with techniques in glazing, use of gold-leaf, and building up textures using cold wax and gel mediums.

Stevens’ art can be seen in the Lounge at Egypt Valley.

A Few Words About Art
When Mary Collins, Interior Designer and a House Committee member at Egypt Valley, considers what artwork to put where, she begins most projects with the art on the front end and builds an experience around it.

“Since we are budget-driven on our projects at the club, it's always a balancing act as to where best spend the money,” said Collins, noting that a club member has a collection of Rick Stevens pieces in their own home and commented to her that they "feel at home" when in the Lounge at Egypt Valley.

Collins adds that the dog photography in the corridor by the Lounge—which gets a lot of attention from members of all ages—came from a creative dog owner who was a professional photographer in New Orleans.

“Putting a picture on a wall to fill space is meaningless. Art isn't supposed to look nice: It is supposed to draw you in and make you feel something!”

Each piece of art at Egypt Valley has a story. Be sure to pause and appreciate them, next time you’re in the Club!

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