- “Black and White” (B/W)” May 7 – 30 , 2021
- Highlighting Gary Groves, Printmaker
- Roby King Gallery
- 176 Winslow Way East
- Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
- Gallery is Open Wednesday – Saturday 12 – 5, Sunday 11 – 4 7 (206) 842-2063
- ** The Gallery is considering an “Exhibition Closing” depending on Covid restrictions by the end of May.
The Roby King Gallery continues its series of themed exhibitions that include a variety of their artists’ works. This month the theme is Black and White. The artists are familiar and well respected — Brian Fisher, Gary Groves, Susan Lowrey, Fumi Matsumoto, and Parvin. Most of the artists in this exhibition work in color but in this show offer some of what they do in monochrome, black and white, negative and positive values.
Gary Groves rarely, if ever, works in color. This is one reason I was drawn to highlighting his work this month. It may be a simple truth to say that what an artist exhibits is the combination and perhaps culmination of his/her experiences to date. For Groves, who is 83 years old, it would be fair to say these works do combine a varied list of experiences, with different media and occupations, and you can find them embedded within his woodblock prints.
The print that most closely spans his professional and personal life is “Togetherness.” He becomes quite expressive when discussing the elements and story behind the work. You could guess that the poetic vertical calligraphy is Japanese, but not that it was an ancient script, a specific dialect from a specific area. It is from a book he owns, a Noh Story script, and is very dear to him. It is a Noh love story. These were traditional Japanese plays, done as a series dating back to the 14th Century. This was likely of the “Genzai No” style dramatizations, which were considered realistic and involving the inner feelings of the characters. The actors wear masks and use gestures.
Groves studied architecture and pottery in Oregon in the 1960s. He headed to Japan to study and travel. He ended up apprenticing with the Japanese potter Kozo Kotake in Kamakura, Japan, and also married and started a family. Eventually, he returned to the States. He was married for 50 years, and “Togetherness” is a nod to his real life.
Over the years Groves has been a potter, a sculptor, a woodworker, a photographer, and built a house or two. He has spent most of his time being a printmaker. His photography background figures into his printmaking by not only being an image source or reference, but also in the way he intricately creates black and white, positive-negative images that could almost be photographs. He can accomplish this because of his sculptural and woodworking background. His deft use of small Dremel carving tools on a large wood canvas is extraordinary.
Most of his prints bring us back home. His sources are usually from areas he visits (New York’s Central Park) or nearby where he lives (the Northwest). Some are fragments, or even fragments of fragments, abstracted to poetic grids. “Perch” is an unusually shaped tree form that appears as a husky, chaotic body. At the very top sits a tiny bird. This is home. In fact, the tree can be found at Bainbridge Island’s renowned and lovely Bloedel Reserve. Groves’ works are calm and meditative despite some of the chaotic looking threads that read more as twiginess, natural, and comfortably familiar.
Check in with Roby King Gallery to learn if there will be a “Exhibition Closing.” It would be a chance to meet and talk with Gary Groves and the other artists in this great show. However, don’t wait to see the whole exhibition, the quality and variety of artwork is a great way to spend some time.
CLICK HERE TO READ OTHER FIRST FRIDAY FOCUS & EBB and FLOW ARTICLES BY BILL
ABOUT BILL BARAN-MICKLE: 2020 Island Treasure Awardee. Recently, Bill has enjoyed exhibiting in several international art biennial exhibitions. Of the three in which he has participated, he won Third Place for Sculpture from the European Confederation of Art Critics in the Chianciamo Biennale, at the Chianciano Art Museum in Italy in 2011, and First Place in Applied Arts in the London Biennale of 2013. In 2013 alone, he will have participated in eight exhibitions: from London to a two-person exhibition near home. In addition, Bill was asked to be a representative for CCAC’s exhibition celebrating 100 years of the Metals Department, and a mix of group shows in New York City, Miami, Seattle and Las Vegas. Bill is the designer of the 10 foot Equitorial Bowstring Sundial located at the Richie Observatory in Battle Point Park on Bainbridge Island, WA and completed in 2015.