Ancient civilizations mastered the technique of representing their lives two-dimensionally, as evidenced in their cave paintings and relief sculptures. While recognizably capturing the goings-on of their societies, they began the tradition of abstraction, where an object is formally defined. When viewed, these artifacts possess a curious ambiguity due to the removal of context created by the passage of time. I use representational figures in the same way: as vehicles through which to study color and line while referencing the world they depict. I begin with a sanded layer of National Geographic pages that lay a foundation rich with texture and subdued colors. Next, I build a framework of geometric and organic line that both organizes the texture and provides a skeletal structure to support the culminating coat of color. Washes of acrylic paint build to produce a matrix of hues, while the varying paint and transparency ties all three layers together in contrasting dept.
This exhibition will present the most extensive public showing ever of original illustration art from American publishing’s best loved and most consequential picture-book series, Little Golden Books—the history-making experiment that celebrated its 65th anniversary in 2007.
Launched in 1942—the first full year of America’s involvement in the Second World War—Little Golden Books made high quality illustrated books available at affordable prices for the first time to millions of young children and their parents. Among the artists who contributed to the ambitious series were greats of the European émigré community (including Garth Williams, Feodor Rojankovsky, and Tibor Gergely) who had gathered in New York as the European situation worsened; alumni of the Walt Disney Studios (including Gustaf Tenggren, Martin Provensen, J.P. Miller, and Mary Blair), who came East for the artistic freedom and control associated with picture-book making; and such American originals as Eloise Wilkin, Elizabeth Orton Jones, Richard Scarry, and Hilary Knight.
60 masterpieces of original illustration art by these and other artists—chosen from the vast Random House archive—will be featured in the exhibition, including examples from such picture-book classics as The Poky Little Puppy, Tootle, Home for a Bunny, The Kitten Who Thought He Was a Mouse, The Color Kittens, I Can Fly, and more.
This exhibit is organized and circulated by the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature, Abilene, Texas.