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Tom Huck: The Bloody Bucket
Aron Packer Gallery
The savage carnival of Tom Huck's The Bloody Bucket is an exhibition not to be missed. Eight monumental prints from the intended fourteen-print series, as well as six independent linoleum prints, showcase Huck's particular blend of weirdness, mayhem, and masterful woodcut technique.
Huck's scathing "rural satire" draws in influences of twentieth-century printmakers like Fritz Eichenberg and Martin Schoengauer as well as the heritage of great printers such as Posada, Cruikshank, and Durer. These are frightful realities, humorous and horrible. Guns, knives, the idiotically violent or the idiotically lascivious... or both. Ultimate Cock Fighting (woodblock print on paper: 52x38 in.: 2002) thrusts forward a satire of the vulgar good cheer we take in violent contest: monster truck rallies, hockey brawls, reality television. A brassy biker-chick in scanty bikini referees as two good ol' boys duke it out on souped-up ostriches. A rippling banner of American flag cuts across the composition from behind. Characteristic of Huck's imagery this is a gleeful free-for-all of energy and raw force reined in just this side of chaos, the focal points always well within the artist's control. The large-scale woodblock -- an unheard-of 52 x 38 inches -- the artist's virtuoso facility with line, texture and detail, and the impeccable crispness of his print technique are further reasons to experience this work in person.
The Bloody Bucket print series was inspired by events, mythic and true, occurring in a bar by that name in operation from 1948-1951, located outside the artist's home town of Potosi, Missouri. Like the great print satirists of the 19th century, Huck's socially scalding grotesqueries are rooted in the details of everyday life. From lunatic degeneracy to bitter satire, the mirror he holds to human nature is as unflattering as it is true. Energy and control; weirdness and mayhem; superb printmaking technique. Tom Huck: The Bloody Bucket will be on exhibition at Aron Packer Gallery through March 19, 2005. It is well worth a special trip.
A second exhibition, ...FOUR MORE: Four More Artists, Four More Walls featuring the art of David Gracie, Joel Hilgenberg, Jason Lahr & Christopher Skura, is also at Aron Packer Gallery through March 19th.
--Katherine Rook Lieber
Editorial Note: Work by Tom Huck will also be on exhibition at the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art, Kansas State University, from February 11 to April 17, 2005.
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