Lucid Dreams:

Poems & Intaglios by Michael Kuch and Nature Under Pressure: Etchings & Lithographs by William B. Montgomery

January 4–February 8, 2009

William B. Montgomery (American, b. 1953). The Prince of Toads, 2000. Hand-colored soft-ground etching, 11 ½ x 17 inches. Collection of the artist


Michael Kuch (American, b. 1965). Frog Dance o' Death in A Plague on Your House, 1994 (Double Elephant Press). Etching, ed. 1/60, 7 ½ x 30 ½." Collection of Dr. James and Norma Cotton, Tyler

Two unique yet complementary visions share the spotlight as the Tyler Museum of Art opens 2009 with a pair of new exhibitions, Lucid Dreams: Poems & Intaglios by Michael Kuch and Nature Under Pressure: Etchings & Lithographs by William B. Montgomery. The exhibitions, organized by the TMA, open to the public Sunday, Jan. 4 and continue through Feb. 8, 2009 in the Museum’s North Gallery. Admission to both exhibitions is free.

LUCID DREAMS

Lucid Dreams spotlights selections from the collection of Dr. James and Norma Cotton of Tyler, longtime TMA patrons who have been avid followers of Kuch’s work over the last two decades.

Michael Kuch (b. 1965) grew up in northern Vermont and began drawing in pen-and-ink at age 11, leading to his first solo exhibition before he was even a teenager. He remained self-taught until he became a pupil of Leonard Baskin at Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., studying life-drawing in the classical tradition. For several years after receiving his B.A., Kuch continued to work closely with Baskin, printing etchings in color for Baskin's Gehenna Press. In 1994, Kuch started his own Double Elephant Press with the publication of a book of frog etchings titled A Plague on Your House. A recent book project, Apocalypse Clocks, was a “millennial retrospective of the end of time”; and in 2002, he produced the book Falling to Earth in reaction to the events of Sept. 11.

The TMA exhibition features complete editions of A Plague on Your House and Apocalypse Clocks, in addition to earlier book creations including Lemon Descending and Amour and Armor, as well as more recent work such as Séance for a Minyan (Kuch’s collaboration with late U.S. Poet Laureate Anthony Hecht) and 2005’s Disaster of Love – A Defense of Delilah.
“Michael’s work is endlessly intriguing because of his ability to weave fantasy and familiarity together to plumb the depths of the human condition,” TMA Director Kimberley Bush Tomio said. “He uses classic symbols from nature as well as biblical and mythological narratives across a broad range of media in his storytelling—everything from monotype and etchings to ink, watercolor, and oil paintings. Michael is a singular talent whose work we are delighted to have on exhibition at the Museum.”
Kuch’s limited-edition books of etchings are housed in collections including the Library of Congress, Yale University, Columbia University, the British Library, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and his poetry has been published in periodicals including The Nation. He splits time between his apartment near Ground Zero in Manhattan and his studio in Hadley, Mass.

NATURE UNDER PRESSURE

William B. Montgomery was born in Tyler in 1953 to former mayor J.R. “Bob” Montgomery and author Rosalis Montgomery, and raised in East Texas. He studied at the Kansas City Art Institute and the University of New Mexico as the foundation for a career that has spanned more than three decades of exhibitions throughout the U.S., including Dallas’ Valley House Gallery and Clifford Gallery, San Antonio’s McNay Art Museum, the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis, and a 1988 solo show at the TMA.

Nature Under Pressure celebrates a quarter-century of variations on Montgomery’s recurring theme of animal life in situations ranging from the bucolic to the bizarre—with particular emphasis on the reptile etchings for which the artist has received his widest acclaim. The TMA exhibition encompasses works ranging from 1983’s Reptile House—Corallus to 2008’s Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, punctuated by surrealistic snapshots of other creatures such as fish (1981’s The Grinnel), birds (2002’s Adventures in Paradise) and even crustaceans (2000’s Limulus Christus, State II).

"Sharing the contributions of Texas artists, particularly native East Texans, is an absolutely essential part of the Museum’s mission,” Ms. Tomio said. “That’s why we devote time in the exhibition schedule to showcase the work of a unique Texas talent such as Bill Montgomery. Of course, his influence extends well beyond our state’s borders, but we’re particularly proud to call him one of our own. It’s no coincidence that the Museum has several of Bill’s works in its Permanent Collection.”
TMA members are invited to meet both the artists during a reception and gallery talk scheduled from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 9 at the Museum. Special events open to non-members in conjunction with the exhibitions include a First Friday Art Tour at 11 a.m. on Feb. 6. Tour admission is free, but reservations are requested by calling (903) 595-1001.