OPENING: Artist’s Reception, Saturday, March 3, 5-8pm
LECTURE: Lecture by the artist, Sunday, March 4, 3pm
Painter, poet and illustrator DeLoss McGraw (b. 1945) returns to Couturier Gallery with Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, a show of new works on paper inspired by the purity of imagination and jubilation found in music. As one of the pioneers of the art and poetry movement, McGraw finds inspiration for this series of tempera and watercolor paintings from children’s verses coupled with traditional, classical and jazz references. Also on display is the collection of one- of-a-kind ‘painted books’ that the artist has been working on for over three years. The opening reception will be Saturday, March 3rd from 5–8pm, with an artist lecture to be held on Sunday, March 4th at 3pm.
McGraw’s early career took shape when he combined his illustrative skills with the poetry of Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, W.D. Snodgrass. McGraw sent Snodgrass a series of paintings that paid tribute to his work, and he in turn wrote several poems inspired by these pieces. The literary and collaborative aspect to McGraw’s work was set, and over his nearly forty year career he has worked with many writers including Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky and author Gabriel Garcia Márquez. His work has taken inspiration from literature as diverse as Günter Grass’, The Tin Drum, to Lewis Carroll’s, Alice In Wonderland. The latter for which he won the Illustrator’s Society Book of the Year Award in 2002.
McGraw is known for his vibrant colors and folksy imagery which belies the sophistication and clarity of his visual storytelling. For Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, McGraw combines the theme of music with elements of his environment he is living in. He attributes the color of these new works to Kitzingen , Germany ; a city a few miles from the studio in
which he produced several of the key paintings and many of the ‘painted books.’ He likens
the creative process of mixing thematic forms with sensory influences to music, stating:
“The connection is like Jazz. Metaphors [both visual and from language] float in an artist ear or mind and they play off each other.”
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star different reference materials from nursery rhymes and fairytales to opera and Mozart to create a visual anthology that is uniquely McGraw. The high contrast between his exploding colors and the dark fields of black and midnight blue lend themselves effectively to the comparison of youthful optimism and the mysticism found in children’s lore.
In addition to the paintings the exhibition will include a number of books appropriated and illustrated by McGraw. The page of these books were used as background for illustrations done directly on the pages using watercolor and gouache to either giving emphasis to the text or simply use it as a support. McGraw is a renowned lecturer and will be speaking about the ‘painted book’ series on Sunday, March 4th at 3pm.
DeLoss McGraw’s distinctive work has been shown in many solo and group shows as well as in book illustration, catalogue publications and theatre set designs throughout the United States and Europe. His work may be found in the permanent collections of the Achenbach Foundation for the Graphic Arts, San Francisco, CA; Cincinnati Symphony Collection, Cincinnati, OH; Copley Library, La Jolla, CA; Cornell University, Special Collection Library, Ithaca, NY; Cranbrook Museum of Art, Michigan; Columbia University, Special Collection Library, N.Y., NY; East Central University, OK; Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, Santa Monica, CA; Harvard University, Houghton Collection Cambridge, MA; Honolulu Academy of Art, Honolulu, HI; Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; New York Public Library, N.Y., NY; Oxford University, Bodleian Collection, Oxford, England; Rochester Museum of Art, Rochester, N.Y., NY; Stanford University, Special Collection Library, Stanford, CA; University Art Museum, Long Beach State University, Long Beach, CA; University of CA, Special Collection Library, Berkeley, CA; University of Houston, Special Collection Library, Houston, TX; University of New Mexico, Tamarind Collection, Albuquerque, NM; Whitney Museum of Art, Library Collection, N.Y., NY
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