Two distinguished retired faculty from the School of Visual Arts are currently exhibiting their work: one locally and the other in San Francisco.
Professor Emeritus Bruce Shobaken, who was head of Printmaking for thirty years, has paintings and prints on display at Foxdale Art Gallery in State College. Shobaken is an impressive painter/printmaker and the show offers a sophisticated juxtaposition of two divergent commitments to abstraction, both deeply imbedded in the under-song of Nature, where austerity collides with the sensual. One senses a precise, suspended quiet that folds onto itself suddenly, into an alternative spatial reality. Composer Morton Feldman called the abstract experience a “collision with the instant,” an insight particularly appropriate when experiencing Shobaken’s works. Professor Paul Chidester responded to “the divine, velvety qualities" of Shobaken's lithographs, and the "color contrasts (and hard/soft edges)” that considerably heightened the pleasure quotient in such works as “Glacial” and “Gap.” It’s obvious why, after so many years, former SoVA students, painter Suzan Frecon and printmaker Bob Ecker, continue to revere Bruce Shobaken as a significant influence on their own work.
If you are in northern California, be sure to catch retired Photography professor Ken Graves’ collages in a four-person exhibition in San Francisco at Muse Gallery. Graves is known primarily for his black and white analogue photographs with collaborator Eva Lipman. However, over several decades he has also developed an enthusiastic following for his collage work. Often in shallow relief, Graves re-combines fragments found in antiquated science and medical journals into finely articulated mosaics. Equally powerful as abstraction, these smart and enigmatic narratives are hilariously provocative and saturated in the absurd, not unlike the Dada originators of this montage invention (Hannah Hoch) and the uncanny juxtapositions characteristic of Surrealism. Since retiring in 2008, Ken Graves has exhibited his work frequently at the pioneering Paule Anglim Gallery in San Francisco. A new book on Ken Graves’ early photographs will be published in fall 2015.
Bruce Shobaken: Foxdale Art Gallery, 2nd floor, Monday–Friday: 9:00–5:00, and Saturday–Sunday: noon–4:00 p.m. Closes March 10.
Ken Graves: Muse Gallery, 614 Alabama St., San Francisco, 415.279.6281
Text courtesy of Micaela Amateau Amato, professor emerita, SoVA and Women’s Studies