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Crocker Art Museum Presents Two Spring Exhibitions of California Artists

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Crocker Art Museum Presents Two Spring Exhibitions of California Artists

"John Buck: Iconography" on view March 12 through May 15, 2011 and
"Daniel Douke: Bytes of Reality" on view March 27 through July 17, 2011

December 6, 2010 – Sacramento, Calif. – This spring, the Crocker Art Museum will present exhibitions highlighting the work of two California artists: John Buck, an alumnus of the University of California, Davis, and Southern California-based Daniel Douke.

Forty years of John Buck's sculpture and printmaking are surveyed in the traveling exhibition, "John Buck: Iconography," featuring 60 prints, sculptures, and shadow box constructions. The exhibit, drawn from the collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his family foundation, will be on view at the Crocker from March 12 through May 15, 2011.

This retrospective recognizes the reach of Buck's art and highlights the ongoing regional importance of the artist and his work. As a graduate of the graduate program at UC Davis, Buck figures among the artists participating in the most important artistic moment centered at Davis in the late 1960s and 1970s. Today, the artist remains highly visible in a region that continues to widely collect and honor his achievement.

Buck began making sculpture in wood—a practice he continues today—during the mid-1970s. His sculpture is assembled from the carved and expertly shaped wood jelutong into large-scale visionary works, often brightly painted. By 1980, his regard for the carving process had progressed into a passion for printmaking. Buck, along with contemporaries Roger Shimomura and Masami Teraoka, helped to successfully revitalize the traditional woodblock or woodcut print by addressing contemporary, often provocative subject matter in their printed work.

Buck's printmaking is distinctive in its invitation to wander and interpret. By boldly centering one iconic image at the heart of each composition, Buck's prints offer visually coherent essays. Yet, message and meaning can and do shift within Buck's imagery as does the artist's contemplations on environment, politics, mythology, and power. Whether his symbols are drawn from popular culture, modern media, or the personal, their background layering is richly developed and seductive.

Southern California artist Daniel Douke responds to everyday experience by rendering the transient packaging of consumer products—particularly the box. By making these discarded boxes art, he gives them permanence and value, challenging our assumptions about reality and artifice. "Daniel Douke: Bytes of Reality" will showcase 24 of the artist's works from March 27 through July 17, 2011.

At first glance, Douke's boxes appear to be simply found objects, but they are anything but. These are paintings that are rendered in exquisite detail, with text, packaging tape, smudges, and dents all carefully observed and painted. Even the canvas is stretched and shaped to perfection. Yet, the backs of these paintings offer clear evidence that this is very traditional work—with wooden stretchers, canvas, and gesso all exposed.

Born in 1943, Douke received his bachelor's and master's from California State University in Los Angeles. His photorealistic renderings of Southern California swimming pools first brought him notoriety in the mid-1970s, but it was at this moment that his concerns shifted from pictorial composition and the application of paint to volume and form. He made his first cardboard box paintings in 1977, referencing a variety of goods ranging from automotive products to foodstuffs. In the 1990s, he returned to contemporary products and found quintessential subject matter in the brand-new packaging and slick graphics of computer boxes. The iMac, especially, had become a colorful high-tech fashion statement. Its packaging and promotion fascinated Douke, communicating a truth about reality, which he felt seemed to epitomize our era and "its promise of a technological utopian dream come true."

The Crocker Art Museum was established in 1885 and is one of the leading art institutions in Northern California. The Museum offers a diverse spectrum of special exhibitions, events and programs to augment its collections of Californian, European, Asian, African and Oceanic artworks. The Crocker is located at 216 O Street in Downtown Sacramento. Museum hours are 10 a.m.–7 p.m., Tuesday–Wednesday; 10 a.m.–9 p.m., Thursdays; 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Friday–Sunday. Every Third Sunday of the month is "Pay What You Wish Sunday" sponsored by Bank of America. For more information, call (916) 808-7000 or visit crockerartmuseum.org.

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