Tuesday, June 7, 2011

American Watercolor Masters -- Gary Bukovnik

Ecstatic Italy: Red Amaryllis, 30" x 20"

Cleveland-born and educated, Gary Bukovnik has made his home in San Francisco for over 25 years. Although he works in several media, he is probably best known for his monumental floral watercolors.

Beginning in early childhood, Gary was drawn to paint the flowers in the plant nurseries that surrounded his family home. However, he put this interest aside as an adult and began painting landscapes, until a perceptive gallery owner urged him to paint flowers. His early works were quite formal, frequently featuring controlled bouquets presented in simple, columnar glass vases.

Ladies Amongst the Thistles, 60" x 80" (diptych)

In 2003, the American Academy in Rome invited Gary to attend as a Visiting Artist, providing him with a room and studio for six weeks. During his stay in Rome, his work began to change -- becoming more free-spirited in nature -- and this change continued after his return to the States. Over time, his paintings have shifted to compositions that feature tipping vases and tumbling fields of flowers, conveying a joyful energy.

Flying Tulips, 40" x 60"

Ecstatic Italy: Flying Roses, 30" x 20"

Monet's Dream, 40.5" x 22.5"

Gary's work has been featured in numerous solo gallery and museum exhibitions throughout the United States, as well as in Europe and Japan, and beginning this June, his paintings will be featured in seven exhibitions in China over the next two years. His work is represented in diverse public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. There are two books on his work -- Flowers: Gary Bukovnik Watercolors & Monotypes, published in 1990; and Gary Bukovnik Watercolors, released in October 2005.

Tipping Arrangement, 40" x 28"

For more information about Gary and his work, please visit his website. I strongly encourage you to watch the video interview -- a wonderful insight into the life and work of this charming and very talented artist.