Freaky Fables from the Foothills: Prints by Tom Huck
February 11, 2005 – April 15, 2005
An exhibition on view from February 11 through April 17, 2005 featured the prints of St. Louis-based artist Tom Huck. A Missouri native, Huck was born in Farmington and raised in nearby Potosi, a town with a population of 2,662 located approximately eighty miles southwest of St. Louis. He studied at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (BFA) and at Washington University in St. Louis (MFA, 1995). Since his graduation from Washington University, Huck has become one of the country’s foremost printmakers working in woodcut. Best known for his satirical, large-scale woodcuts in which he chronicles the life and lore of Potosi, his boyhood home, Huck creates extraordinary images packed with narrative and visual incident. As Huck has written:
My work deals with personal observations about the experiences of living in a small town in southeast Missouri. The often strange and humorous occurences, places, and people in those towns offer a never ending source of inspiration for my prints. I call this work “rural satire.” I feel a strong connection to the artists of the Northern Renaissance and their approach to art from the standpoint of master craftsmen. My work has been influenced by an array of artists among them Albrecht Dürer (woodcuts), Warrington Colescott (etchings), nearly all of the German Expressionists, and the late great Frank Zappa. My chosen media is printmaking, specifically the woodcut. The combination of dark humor with the inherently expressive medium of the woodcut heightens the complexity of my images.
Among the prints included in the exhibition were examples from Rural Absurdities: 2 Weeks in August, a compendium of local Potosi lore comprising fourteen prints. Huck’s most recent series, The Bloody Bucket, inspired by the Bloody Bucket, a bar located outside of Potosi and in operation from 1948 to 1951, will also be featured. The exhibition is a collaboration with the Program of Cultural Studies in the K-State English department. Huck will be one of three keynote speakers at the English department’s 14th Annual KSU Cultural Studies Conference, March 10-12. The other keynote speakers are Scott McCloud, author of Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics and Charles Hatfield, author of Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature. For more information on the conference, see www.ksu.edu/english/symposium/.