Dieter Schlatter remains close to his European roots rich in history and philosophical debate. He started out as a photographer creating landscapes, portraits and nudes, primarily in black and white. He wrote a fictional documentary that was published in Switzerland, Germany and Austria before beginning his career as a painter. In 1990, when he began painting, he realized that this was the medium that best suited his need for expression. His paintings focus on landscapes and recently he has been exploring the human form. Much of his work could be described as moody and conflicting, as his images touch the nerves of the viewer.
Completely self taught, he has spent hours researching art history books and experimenting with styles and composition. A man of many talents, Schlatter is a published author, photographer and chef.
Dieter Schlatter was born in Bern, Switzerland and has been a resident of British Columbia since 1990. In 1998, he gave up his career as an executive chef to paint fulltime.
One of the main foundations of my work is my interest in history, the impact we have on the environment, the traces and scars we leave behind and the energy being reflected by these scars.
I like to juxtapose past and present often symbolized by herds of buffalos and railway tracks, or by my use of technique, which is the combination of the old medium of oil painting and the relatively new technology of photography pictures that have been altered either with paint or a laser copier. Paint often drips freely, dark umbers and yellowing reddish siennas reminiscent of petroleum soaked rail beams or the rust on locomotives, railcars and tracks.
While being a schoolboy in Switzerland I was fascinated by a never-ending flood of more or less relevant “cowboys and Indians” literature and Jack London’s gold rush depictions. So it is quite possible that a small part of me still sees Western Canada through the eyes of this boy in Switzerland. Or as a fellow painter pointed it out: “It takes a foreigner to appreciate Canadiana.”
Although the imagery may come across as Canadiana at first sight it’s not quite like that. Of course the pictures have been taken in Canada but it could have been anywhere. At a closer look most of my depictions of railways, buffalos, log piles, cattle brandings or hay bales take on a deeper meaning: It’s about mysticism. It’s about symbolism. The railway tracks and disappearing horizons are synonymous for life. It’s about how urbanity is interwoven with the non-urban. That’s why in some of my paintings I choose a rather graffiti-like painting style to depict strictly rural scenes like wheat or cattle farming or oil and gas exploration.
And most times while in progress my work takes on a life of itself. It all comes down to composition and colour. Things of little or no importance can be treated or depicted in a way that they become important.
All photography used in my work is my own. I make long road trips through British Columbia and Alberta taking pictures of anything that captures my eye. Sometimes these photographs are kept in my studio for months or even years until I am inspired and decide to use them.
1989 Kulturfoerderpreis des Kantons Obwalden, Switzerland
Private Collections in Canada, USA, Germany, Spain and Switzerland
2017 CANADA 150, Canada House Gallery, Banff, AB
2016 JOY, Canada House Gallery, Banff, AB
2014 Parallels, Jennifer Annesley & Dieter Schlatter, Canada House Gallery, Banff, AB
2013 Joy, Canada House Gallery, Banff, AB
2012 Jennifer Annesley & Dieter Schlatter, Canada House Gallery, Banff, AB
2011 Joy, Canada House Gallery, Banff, AB
2008 Canada House Gallery, Banff, AB
2006 Joy Exhibition, Canada House Gallery, Banff, AB
2006 Solo Exhibition, Canada House Gallery, Banff, AB
2005 "A Sense of Place" Canada House Gallery, Banff, AB
2003 Artropolis, Vancouver, BC
2002 Art Junction, Whistler, BC
2002 Galerie Leupi, Ascona, Switzerland
2002 Keeler and Tobler AG, Baar, Switzerland
2001 Art Junction, Whistler, BC
2001 Studio Show, Kerns, Switzerland
2001 Galerie Schrapff, Quebec City, PQ
2001 Artropolis, Vancouver, BC
2001 Artworks, Fort St. John, BC
2001 Howe Street Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2000 MEG-Gallery, Toronto, ON
2000 Howe Street Gallery, Vancouver, BC
1999 Artworks, Victoria, BC
1999 Gunnar Nordstrom Gallery, Kirkland, WA
2008 Where Magazine
2006 Galleries West
2006 Canadian Art, Fall 2006 p.157
1996 Calendrier Culturel, CBC News
1994 Arts 'round Town, Delta, BC
1993 Arts 'round Town, Delta, BC