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Printmakers at Sangre de Cristo Arts Center
The Sangre de Cristo Arts Center will pay tribute to the life and work of Taos printmaker Gene Kioss through three exhibitions this fall. To compliment this celebration of her 100th birthday, the center will also be featuring the work of three contemporary printmakers - each with their own unique style and beauty.
Since the early 1970s, John Buck has been making prints, woodblock rubbings and sculpture with narrative themes that employ his signature motif of disparate objects and figures precariously in balance with each other. (right: John Buck, The Coal Mine)
In his sculptures, Buck often uses geometric shapes with the figures balancing a grid of sticks with a shell or rocks or other items. Among the various carved items are globes, chains, quatrefoils, symmetrical floral patterns, birds, forked sticks and flames.
Also customary, his cast bronze works are originally carved in wood; then, the wood is lost in the casting process as it is replaced with metal. Buck uses jelutong wood as his primary material. It is a soft white wood culled from Malaysian farming operations. Too soft to have any value as a building material, it is perfectly suited to the furniture maker arid wood sculptor. The process of its own making becomes very apparent in the finished piece. Every hack mark and chisel cut remains visible. These are not slick, polished pieces. Instead they follow in the tradition of folk art, handmade crafts and votive figures.
Buck says, "For the past several years, my work has focused on wood panels or constructions composed of laminated wood. The surface is carved by hand using large chisels and gouges that give a rippling effect almost like water. The surface can, in turn, be carved into again to make textures and flat surfaces that are painted or drawn upon. Throughout the compositions the handmade quality of the wooden objects and images within the construction gives it a visual continuity that has warmth to it unlike other materials."
Recently, Buck produced the blocks for several new large-scale color woodblock prints. These incorporate the same signature motif images for which Buck is famous. Printed in small editions and with vibrant colors, each is an intricate undertaking as the woodblock is carved and reduced layer by layer.
John Buck was born in Ames, Iowa; received his BFA from the Kansas City Institute and School of Design and went on to study at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine. The artist received his MFA in 1972 from the University of California, Davis. He divides his time between a ranch in Bozeman, MT and studios in Hawaii.
Most recently, Buck was awarded a commission at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. He has been the recipient of several major commissions, including artworks for Swedish Medical Center in Seattle in 1998. He was the recipient of the National Artists Award in 1984 and was awarded an Individual Artist Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1980. Buck's work is included in several major collections around the country, including the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Art Institute of Chicago; The Brooklyn Museum; Contemporary Arts Center, Honolulu; Denver Art Museum; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Seattle Art Museum.
Chipita Park's, Jean Gumpper has said her own artistic work is an effort to "let the landscape act as a visual metaphor for emotions and experiences." Ms. Gumpper's exquisite woodcut prints create an evocative, semi-abstract view of woodland foliage and waterside plant life with close-up images with reflective light and still waters. Some of her prints, in their spatial relationships and attention to nature, honor Asian painting and woodcuts. (right: Jean Gumpper, Ridge)
She was commended by the Colorado Council on the Arts in 2000 with an Artist Fellowship Award noting her ability to create realistic scenes with woodcut prints - a medium that is usually graphic and much less refined.
Ms. Gumpper currently teaches at Colorado College. Her work is exhibited nationally and internationally. Her prints are in the collections of the Cranbrook Institute of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI; the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center; CU; Rocky Mountain National Park, CU; the Springfield Art Museum, Springfield, MO; the University of Pittsburgh, PA; University of Wisconsin, Madison among others as well as in private collections in the United States, Canada, Japan and Nepal. She received a Visual Artist Fellowship Award for her work from the Colorado Council on the Arts in 2001 and Artist Residency awards from the Ucross Foundation in 2001 and Rocky Mountain National Park in 1998. Her M.F.A. is from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and her B.F.A, magna cum laude, from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
To quote Bruce Hilvitz, "A sense of humor isn't necessarily always the case in being a cartoonist, but it helps. One must suspend disbelief, live in an observed black and white world, and always wear the same clothes. With all that, you need a sense of humor. And a good left hook. Especially if you are left to your own devices and insist on reading comic books... in public." (right: Bruce Hilvitz, Hairy Eyeball)
Back after 23 years of working as a master printer and exploring the art markets in New York and San Fransisco, Pueblo native Bruce Hilvitz brings his new series "Nancy Boy" to the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center. His work as a master printer will be highlighted by several serigraphs produced in collaboration with Don Donahue. Together, they have produced work for artists such as famed cartoonist R. Crumb.
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