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Skidmore College

The Mythic Figure to open April 4 at Shick Art Gallery

January 1, 1970

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Ed Smith, The New Man
The New Man by Ed Smith, bronze, 64 in.,

The Mythic Figure, an exhibition of works by sculptors William Tucker and Ed Smith and painter Pamela Avril, opens Thursday, April 4, at the Schick Art Gallery on the Skidmore campus.

An opening reception is planned from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 4, and a panel discussion featured the artists is scheduled at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 9, in Davis Auditorium, Palamountain Hall. Admission to both is free and open to the public.

Tucker, Smith, and Avril are contemporary artists who take inspiration from classical mythology. Using the human figure as a source and a subject, each often makes works that are life-sized or larger-than-life. The physicality of the works is immediate and undeniable. They reflect the struggle toward self-knowledge embodied in many archetypal myths, and attest to the relevance of mythology to contemporary culture. 

Tucker has a long and distinguished career as a sculptor and a scholar, with many published writings on modern art. Of his sculptures, Michael Brenson of The New York Times has written, “Each is at the same time turned inward and pushing at the space around it.  Each shifts between fragment and whole, between the appearance of heroism and the reality of physical limits and struggle.”

While Smith’s work is based in mythology and refers to Homer’s Iliad, of his life-sized figures, Smith states: “The standing figures need no more explanation than a man/woman heroically standing, fighting and asserting the power of the individual.”

Ancient Indian sculpture and relief carvings influence the imagery in Pamela Avril’s paintings. She explains, “I am drawn to the Asian archetypes because they are direct personifications of internal energy and states of mind.”

John Galt, visiting assistant professor of sculpture, and Paul Sattler, Schick Gallery director, co-curated The Mythic Figure.

More about the artists:

William Tucker grew up in England and studied at Oxford and at St. Martin’s College of Art and Design. He started showing his work in the 1960s and has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in London, the United States, and internationally. In 1978 he moved to the United States and taught at Columbia University and the New York Studio School, becoming an American citizen in 1985.

He has received numerous awards and commissions over the years, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1981; a National Endowment for the Arts Award in 1986; a Sculpture Center Award for Distinction in Sculpture in 1991; a commission for a large-scale sculpture for Bilbao, Spain, in 1996; and the Lifetime Achievement Award at the International Sculpture Center in 2010. His work is held in many collections, including the Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.; and Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, NY. Tucker’s sculpture has been reviewed extensively, including, most recently, “William Tucker: From the Formal to the Primeval,” by David Cohen in Sculpture Magazine, April 2010, Vol. 29, No.3.

Tucker also is a writer, having published the influential The Language of Sculpture, Thames & Hudson, London, 1974; and a number of scholarly articles, including “Rodin in the Round,” The New Criterion, March 1994. He is currently represented by McKee Gallery in New York.

Pamela Avril received a BFAfrom the California Institute of the Arts and an MFA from Bennington College in Vermont. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions of her work include Observed / Imagined at the Oxbow Gallery in Northampton, Mass., in February 2013; and Avril / Symington at the Marist College Art Gallery in 2012; her work also has been included in numerous group exhibitions. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1989 and a Yale Fellowship at the Norfolk Summer Program at Yale University.

Avril has lectured and taught at Bard College, the School of Visual Arts, and Union College, among others, and her work is held in numerous public and private collections.  

Ed Smith had shown his work in more than 40 solo exhibitions and innumerable group exhibitions, including at the Brooklyn Museum, the Schenectady Museum, and the Albright Knox Museum. His work has been reviewed in The New York Times and in Sculpture Magazine and many other publications. Currently professor of art at Marist College and director of Marist-Lorenczo de Medici Venice Biennale Program, Smith has lectured and taught at numerous institutions, including American University, Dartmouth College, Dia Art Center, Pratt Institute, and Yale University.

His awards and honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1994; a Teaching Excellence Award from the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts; a Ford Foundation Grant, a Prix de Rome, and a Fulbright Award, among others.

Recent exhibitions include Sculptors' Prints at the Royal Scottish Academy, February / March 2013, Edinburgh, Scotland; Sculpture & Drawings by Ed Smith at the Mary S. Byrd Gallery of Art, Augusta State University, and the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, in January / February 2013, Augusta, Georgia; and inclusion in a group show at BCB Gallery in Hudson, NY, in January, 2013.

All Schick gallery events are free and open to the public. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, and from noon to 4 p.m. weekends.

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