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Skidmore College
Schick Art Gallery

Michael Kuch Exhibition

The Schick Art Gallery at Skidmore College presents an exhibition featuring works by printmaker / book artist Michael Kuch. A reception will take place in the gallery from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 6 and immediately following the Fox-Adler Lecture on September 23. The show remains on exhibit through September 26, 2010. (NOTE - The gallery is closed August 6 through September 6 for Summer Break.) Many of Kuch's limited edition books are held in the artists' book collection in the Department of Special Collections, Pondorff Room, Lucy Scribner Library, Skidmore College. Kuch will deliver the 2010 Fox-Adler Lecture on September 23. The Fox-Adler Lecture is named after the late Hannah M. Adler and donor Norman M. Fox and supports the intellectual mission of the Fox Collection, an invaluable asset for Skidmore students and faculty studying literature and book illustration. The Schick receptions and exhibition are free and open to the public, as is the lecture; please join us.

Drawing from his imagination, Michael Kuch portrays a world both fantastic and familiar. Whimsical juxtapositions of human figure and natural form fuse into personal metaphor. A head sprouts flowers, evocative of inner growth; another face hides under a seashell hat, seeking protection. A distinctive, patient tenderness suffuses his imagery. Anthropomorphic frogs, wearing no more than frowns, satire our naked, vulnerable condition. Unceremonious portraits of biblical and mythological characters comment gently on iconoclastic times. A Sisyphus, toiling behind a giant snail, does not strain his muscles; his sad, soft posture conveys a mental rather than physical burden. Kuch's art does not focus on verisimilitude, nor does it dwell in aesthetic interpretation; rather these qualities attend human experience as revealed from the inside: a world of psychological reflection.

Kuch matches his prolific generation of iconography with facility in diverse media, which the Schick Art Gallery will showcase. Anchored in solid pen & ink draftsmanship, Kuch is at ease working in ink wash, watercolor, oils, pastels, etching, lithography, and bronze sculpture. In these multiple mediums, Kuch explores his ideas, creating woodcuts and etchings that are incorporated into his limited edition books. One can see an interpretation of a single image in varied techniques. Ink wash adds mystery to his meticulous line; ink mixed with watercolor articulates outlines and solidifies space. Knowledge of watercolor's transparencies helps him create layered, gem-like oils. Kuch's first bronze sculpture, Pregnant Man, even plays literally with the creative physicality of the medium. Kuch's various talents give his themes room to evolve according to the subtle, expressive strengths of each material.

Michael Kuch was born in 1965 and grew up in northern Vermont. He began drawing in pen & ink at the age of 11 and the following year had a one-person show at a local museum. He remained self-taught until he came under the wing of Leonard Baskin at Hampshire College. Under Baskin's critical eye, Kuch studied life drawing in the classical tradition. As a student, he was particularly struck by the print work of Odilon Redon, Francisco Goya, and Giambattista Tiepolo. For many years after receiving his BA, 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 entitled, A Plague on Your House. A recent book project, Apocalypse Clocks was a millennial retrospective of the end of time. A collaboration with former Poet Laureate, Anthony Hecht, Séance for a Minyan, resurrected original testament figures to let them speak to modern times. Kuch's poetry has been published in The Nation. In 2000, Kuch produced the book Falling to Earth in reaction to the events of September 11th. He currently divides his time between his apartment near Ground Zero in Manhattan and his studio in Hadley, Massachusetts. The Schick Art Gallery will also feature works relating to Kuch's recent book projects A Sphinx's Field Guide to Questionable Answers and Common Monsters as well as Waterlines, published this past year.

Schick Art Gallery acknowledges R. Michelson Galleries, Northampton Mass., for lending works in support of this exhibition.


This book commences with chiaroscuro woodcuts of various sphinxes in natural settings who serve as guides to common, rhetorical riddles. Colorful answers are displayed in wood type. The viewer is left to unriddle the question from which each answer was derived. An alphabetical key, loose in the back of the book, provides the names of the various typefaces displayed on the pages, turning the field guide into a rather curious specimen book.

A Sphinx's Field Guide to Questionable Answers


Outlandish fauna are artfully observed & illuminated by Michael Kuch. From the American Imperialist Moth, Pax americana to the Fat-Man Stealth Bat, Papilla terror, this natural history surveys the salient creatures of our current political landscape.

Common Monsters