ARTISTS ON ARTISTS | Bullseye Glass Co. | Bullseye Glass Co

ARTISTS ON ARTISTS

Jiri Harcuba and April Surgent

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A visit last week to the Hockney on Turner exhibition at the Tate Gallery reminded me of why I love to hear artists talk on the work of other artists. The perspectives are visceral.

“You can sense his arm moving. You can feel his body responding” is how Hockney reflects on Turner’s watercolor sketches.

A week before I’d been sitting on our deck overlooking Portland, sharing a chummy little Brunello di Montalcino with Czech master Jiri Harcuba and emerging American artist April Surgent who were at Bullseye to do a week of fusing and cutting explorations in the studio.

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Jiri – the consummate European master – was raving about the energy of April’s work and bemoaning what he considered the “chains” of his own tradition. Of course it was all rubbish. Harcuba’s work has broken barriers for generations. But it was charming to watch the dance of Age yearning for Youth and Youth aspiring to Age.

For nearly a week the studio had been visual drama. Charcoal drawings pinned to walls, dozens of little cutting tests on all the tables, color-overlays, monoprints inked onto paper off the engraved glass, April working large, Jiri working larger.

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This was not a collaboration. It was a dialogue, a duel, the kind of energy that good artists draw from each other working side-by-side.

To my horror, Jiri kept saying things like “Look at this [pointing to an engraved sketch of April’s] – it belongs in the Metropolitan!” Well, not yet. But at the Tate last week, looking at the selections Hockney had made of Turner’s rough studies, his enthusiasm for the other’s ‘colour beginnings’, I felt all over again the excitement of talent viewing talent – and relating to it in a way that is enlightening to those of us on the sidelines.

10 Responses to ARTISTS ON ARTISTS

  1. Morganica says:

    OK, so this is how ignorant I am–Brunello di Montalcino is a something and not a someone, right? Otherwise that message has a whole ‘nother context. (And if, as I suspect, it’s a wine, well…too many years promoting western US and Australian wines to pay much attention to Europe… ;-)

    I’m probably not qualified to comment on Jiri vs. April, either, except to say that their very different approaches to engraving often has me sticking them together on the wall and marveling at the role vision plays in making.

    Lordee, you’ve got a neat job, Lani.

  2. Lani says:

    Yes, Cynthia, Brunello is definitely something. But I’m intrigued by the way your mind works.

    And I have to agree – sometimes this job is a religious experience.

    So, I know that you’ve got a Surgent to “stick on the wall” Do you also have a Harcuba? If so, I’m seriously jealous.

    - Lani

  3. Morganica says:

    I wish. Nope. Don’t have a Harcuba. And yes, my mind is seriously weird, no doubt about it. That’s what I love most about it.

    Actually, I stuck the real Surgeant on a different wall in a different room, one of my “this is not a toy so don’t mess with it” walls. Right at the moment I’ve got pictures (only pictures) of the works of 6 different coldworking artists stuck on my artboard, and Harcuba and Surgeant are two of them.

  4. Nice to have you back Lani! Love your enthusiasm and perspective as usual. Do you have any workshops in photo recist glass coming up at Bullseye? This something I’ve been investegating as my art and glass work moves closer togeather.

  5. Lani says:

    Hi Dan,

    No, sorry, no photo resist workshops at BE. Not yet at least. The full offering is listed at:
    http://www.bullseyeglass.com/education/class_schedule.php

    But you should think about coming to North Lands and doing the class that Jiri & April will team teach next September (2008). I think it’s going to be amazing.

  6. Looks like an intriguing week of collaboration! Do you have any more details about the class at Northlands? (It’s not listed on their website yet.) Thanks.

  7. Lani says:

    Hi Carrie,

    Right, North Lands hasn’t announced their 2008 schedule yet, but I’m hopeless at keeping secrets and I know that April & Jiri have agreed to teach a ~9-day Masterclass there (here!) immediately before their annual conference which is always the first weekend in Sept. That should put the class roughly in the August 27 – September 4, 2008* time frame. I’d love to see you in it. Cheers, Lani

    *PS These dates have been edited from my original post (which was wrong)

  8. Tony S. says:

    September in Northlands with Harcuba and Surgent?? That is much too tempting.

    Thanks for pairing them up Lani. The class sounds too good to be true.

    Tony

  9. Thanks Lani! Tony is right- sounds like an amazing experience. I’m glad you spilled the beans- it’s great to know so far in advance! Not only would I love to do it for the class, but I’ve never been to Scotland…. Carrie

  10. I’ve been an admirer of Jiri Harcuba for many years and find the pairing and new product exciting. How about a material sample to axess–australia. And I’d love to know what the drill the master is using in the picture.

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