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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. Beckman is celebrated for the intimacy and emotional power of his drawings of the human figure. This exhibition explores Beckman's primary subject matter: the individual. Many of Beckman's images are self-portraits or portraits of the artist and his wife. At times he shows two image of himself side by side, while at other times his spouse is at his side. Sometimes one figure is nude, sometimes both are. The nearly fifty portraits run the gamut of captivating expressions from self-possession to rebellion and vulnerability. This exhibition is drawn from both private and public collections. The works vary in scale from intimate to colossal.

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 grew up 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. Often working in series and experimenting with scale, Beckman's process is at the fore, producing compelling images that engage the viewer directly.

Accompanying the exhibition is a 112-page, full-color catalogue of Beckman's work, as well as archival photos from his childhood and college days. The catalogue, (published by D Giles, Ltd., London), William Beckman: Drawings, 1967-2013 includes an interview with the artist as well as an exploratory essay by noted scholar Carter Ratcliff. The exhibition was originated by the Columbus Museum in response to the ideas of Townsend Wolfe, the long-time director of the Arkansas Arts Center who founded its important collection of drawing. William Beckman: Drawings was previously seen at the Columbus Museum.


View more about this exhibition at the Columbus Museum's website:

William Beckman Drawing Retrospective 1969-2013

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