William beckman: Drawings, 1967 - 2013
October 24, 2014 - February 1, 2015
William Beckman’s gripping drawings are coming to the Arkansas Arts Center in the first major retrospective of this great realist artist’s works on paper. While Beckman’s paintings depict landscapes, figures and still lifes, his most celebrated drawings are those of the human figure. Beckman says that ever since his student days at the University at Iowa, nothing has “touched my soul like the figure.” Beckman focuses not on the body as an object but on the human as an individual. Many of Beckman’s images are full-length self-portraits that juxtapose the artist with his wife or a second image of himself. The figures are revealingly observed; sometimes one figure is nude, sometimes both are. The viewer is drawn to gaze into the figures’ eyes, engaging with a drawing almost as with another person.
The works in William Beckman: Drawings vary in scale from intimate to colossal. Often working in series and experimenting with scale, Beckman's process is at the fore. His powerful lines point out the action of the artist’s hand as it outlines the figure. The sheer physical presence of the monumental depictions demands attention. The grand impact of the enormous images of rodeo bulls is rare in the realm in drawings.
Beckman's inspiration comes from diverse sources, which include northern European painting, the writings of Russian author Nikolai Gogol, and the farm on which he was raised in western Minnesota. Throughout his career he has examined human relationships - the quiet of solitude, the intimacy of marriage, and the complexity of gender issues. Unlikely as it may at first seem, these issues are carried over in the recent monumental images of rodeo bulls. The artist explains, “Having grown up on a farm I’ve always identified with animals, especially cattle and horses.”
View more about this exhibition at the Columbus Museum's website:
William Beckman: Drawings, 1969-2013
Featured Works from the Exhibition
Mr. and Mrs. Merritt P. Dyke
Jackye and Curtis Finch, Jr.