Robert Kostka

November 19, 2005

Robert Kostka, artist, author, and educator, died on Sat., Nov. 12, 2005 in Ashland, after complications from myasthenia gravis. He was 77.

He was best known for explorations of archetypal images, including sacred mountains and the cosmologies of cultures from Native American, Asian, and Middle Eastern traditions. He painted evocative, soft images in sumi-e ink or gouache on Japanese papers, and hard-edge abstractions in acrylic on canvas. He was also committed to interdisciplinary partnerships with artists in music, film, photography, sculpture, and ceramics. A friend, Frank Waters, author of Book of the Hopi, once described Kostka&

39;s work as ?embodying the integration of East and West.?

Kostka is included in the recent book, Modernists in Taos, by David Witt, and his images and essays have appeared in a number of publications. He also lectured at the C.G. Jung Centennial Conference, the Common Boundaries Conference, and the Frank Lloyd Wright Centennial Lectures Series.

His paintings are in dozens of private and public collections including the University Art Museum, Berkeley, Calif.; the Legion of Honor, San Francisco; the Palace of Fine Arts, Santa Fe; Harwood Foundation Art Museum and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, Taos, New Mexico; the Darger Foundation and the Chicago Historical Society, Chicago; the University Collections, Valparaiso, Indiana; and the Bauhaus Archiv, Berlin, Germany.


39;s exhibitions were often curated by Peter Selz, his mentor and former curator of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Kostka&

39;s paintings and sculpture have been represented by Meridian Gallery, San Francisco; Robert Green Fine Art, Mill Valley, Calif.; the Rogue Valley Art Center, Medford, Ore.; Davis and Cline Gallery, and Lithia Creek Gallery, Ashland, OR.

Robert Kostka was born Sept. 11, 1928, in Chicago. After serving in the U.S. Army in the early 1950s, he earned two undergraduate degrees and a master&

39;s degree from the Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology (I.I.T.), often called the Chicago Bauhaus, where he studied with some of the most influential artists and designers of the 20th century. For many years he was art director for WTTW/Chicago Public Television. From the mid-1960s to 1980, Kostka served as associate professor of art at the University of Illinois, Chicago; the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay; and the University of Oregon School of Architecture and Allied Arts.

For the past 20 years Kostka lived in Ashland where he regularly collaborated with such prominent Oregon artists as Jim Robinson, Robert Emory Johnson, Todd Barton, Susan Caperna Lloyd, Gwen Stone, and others. He maintained a studio and painted actively until shortly before his death. A retrospective exhibition is planned at the Meridian Gallery in San Francisco; the opening on Jan. 19, 2006, will include a celebration service with invocation by one of his former students, an assistant to the Dalai Lama. Memorials are also being planned in Ashland and Taos, New Mexico.

A foundation is being established in Kostka&

39;s name to help conserve his work and legacy. Additionally, contributions to the Robert Kostka Memorial Scholarship in support of the Meridian Interns Program may be made to the Society for Art Publications of the Americas (SAPA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to cross-cultural and arts advocacy and education, on whose board of directors Kostka served. Donations may be sent c/o Anne Brodzky, Director, SAPA/Meridian Gallery, 545 Sutter St., Suite 201, San Francisco, CA 94102.

Robert Kostka is survived by several cousins and dozens of artist-collaborators and friends.

Urban Albert Florin

Urban Albert Florin, 89, died Nov. 13, 2005 at ACH. Memorial to be arranged.

He was born March 5, 1916 in Chicago to Gerta Schmidt and Albert Florin. He earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology. He married Emma Hendrickson in 1946 and spent 35 years as a project engineer for the Brach&

39;s Candy Co. They moved to Ashland in 1994.

A decorated combat veteran based in England during WWII, he flew in the 447th, B-17 bomb group.

He enjoyed biking, family and apple pie. He was actively involved in the community and many charities.

He is survived by his wife, Emma; a son, Steven and his wife Patricia of Williams, OR; a brother, Roland of Tacoma Park, MD; and grandchildren, Haley, Carl, and Christopher and his wife Dana. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Jana Kwiatkowska, and brothers Omar and Alan.

He will remain a smile in the hearts of all who knew him.

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