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 Bill (William Clinton) Schenck  (1947 - )

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Lived/Active: New Mexico/Arizona/Ohio      Known for: landscape, Indian life, pop cowboy painting

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BIOGRAPHY for Bill Schenck
Facts/Data
Birth
1947 (Ohio)
 
Lived/Active
New Mexico/Arizona/Ohio

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Often Known For
landscape, Indian life, pop cowboy painting

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Biography from Altermann Galleries & Auctioneers:
Chosen by a group of Art Historians (Peter Briggs, University of Arizona Museum of Art; Brian Dippie, University of British Columbia; Don Hagerty, Author and head of the Art History Department at UC Davis; Peter Hassrick, Denver Art Museum; and Anne Morand, Gilcrease Museum); Bill Schenck was included in the ‘Masters of Western Art 1900-2000” show held at the Desert Caballeros Museum, including renowned artists such as Joseph Sharp, Ernest Blumenschein, Ansel Adams, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Maynard Dixon.

SOLO EXHIBITIONS: 87 solo shows since 1970 across the U.S. and Europe, including four major museum retrospectives: Scottsdale Center for the Arts (1983), Wyoming State Museum (1990), American Museum of El Paso (1996), and Albrecht Kemper Museum of Art, St. Joseph, MO (1996).

GROUP EXHIBITIONS: 125 group exhibitions since 1970, including 64 Museum shows in the United States and Europe such as: Desert Caballeros Western Museum / Wickenberg, AZ, Metro Center for the Visual Arts / Denver, CO, Cypress College of Fine Arts / Cypress, CA, National Cowboy Hall of Fame / Oklahoma City, OK, Alberta College of Art / Alberta Canada, Centro de Arte Moderno / Guadalajara, Mexico, Edwin Ulrich Museum / Wichita, KS, Indianapolis Museum of Art / Indianapolis, IN, Allentown Art Museum / Allentown, PA, Grand Hornu Gallery / Grand Hornu, Belgium, Rose Art Museum / MA, Gallerie Trois / Port Mons , Belgium, Wadsworth Annthenum / Hartford, CT.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 155 publications including:
Books:
Leading the West,
Northland Press 1997; Canyon de Chelly, 100 Years of Painting and Photography, Gibbs-Smith Publisher 1997; The American West, The Modern Vision, New York Graphic Society Books 1984, Cowboy: The Enduring Myth of the Wild West” Stewart Taboxi & Change Publishers 1984

Magazines & Newspapers: Southwest Art, New York Times, Fortune Magazine, Italian Vogue, Bunte, Art News, The Santa Fean, Arizona Republic, Jackson Hole News, Soho News, Kansas City Star.

SELECTED COLLECTIONS: 117 major collections including:
Museums:
Museum of the Southwest; Springfield Art Museum, University of Arizona Housatonic Community College, Tucson Museum of Art, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Missoula Museum of the Arts, Rose Art Museum, C.B. Goddard Center for the Arts, Whitney Gallery of Western Art, Matthews Center, Arizona State University, Scottsdale Center for the Arts, Albuquerque Fine Arts, Museum, Midwest Museum, Brandeis University Museum, Superstition Mountain Historical Museum, Art Museum of South Texas, Clymer Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Wyoming State Museum, Yellowstone Art Center, Brigham Young University, Desert Caballeros Western Museum, Nicolaysen Museum, Eiteljorg Museum, Albrecht Kemper Museum of Art, Babson College Art Collection.

Public Collections:
Sky Harbor Airport, St. Luke’s Hospital, Lander Valley Medical Center, Mayo Clinic.

Corporate Collections:
McDonald’s Corporation, Security Pacific Bank, National Bank of Switzerland, Jackson State Bank, IBM, American Airlines, Wells Fargo Bank, Suntory Liquor, Tokyo, Japan—Hilton Hotels, Sturn Ruger Corporation, Mountain Bell.

Biography from American Design Ltd.:
Arizona artist Bill Schenck takes the flat pictorial images and large scale format common to Pop Art and applies them to the popular hero of the American West, the modern cowboy.  Rather than portraying the West in a romantic manner like Remington and Russell, Schenck finds interest in the stylization and formalization of the scene, so that his figures are reduced to flat planes of line, color and patterns.  At first glance, the subject appears obvious, yet further observation dematerializes the image until it becomes an abstract composition.  Although his paintings depict the rowdy and noisy settings, his style seems somewhat static and subdued rather than dynamic.  His paintings become studies in color and light, line and pattern.

Schenck works from color transparencies, which he projects onto the canvas, transferring the picture and then filling in the sketch with paint.  He considers his system a formal "paint-by-numbers" technique, one which allows him to control colors and tones so that the effect is flattened, without contours or shading.  Formally, this technique resembles the works of other Pop artists, such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

Born in Ohio in 1947, Bill Schenck was fascinated by cowboys and the West from a very early age, carrying into adulthood images from John Wayne movies & rodeos.  He studied art at Columbus College of Art & Design in Ohio and the Kansas City Art Institute where he began using photographs as references as early as 1967. 

He worked in New York for five years, and developed his photo-realist style of cowboy paintings.  In 1974 he moved to Scottsdale, Arizona to be closer to the western cowboy heritage he'd known only second-hand.  True to that heritage, Schenck loves to play poker and until recently even rode bareback ponies in rodeos.  He can be seen in a number of his paintings in the reflection shown in a cowgirl's sunglasses.

Biography from Altamira Fine Art:
Bill Schenck

Western Contemporary Realist

Bill Schenck’s art incorporates techniques from Photo-Realism and Pop Art to both praise and mimic classic western images.  His work is characterized by hot colors, surreal juxtapositions and patterning which explore clashes between wilderness and civilization, the individual and community, nature and culture, freedom and restriction.

Early in his career, he became known for utilizing cinematic imagery, reproduced in a flattened, reductivist style, where colors are displayed side by side rather than blended or shadowed.  Schenck has added hot colors, surreal juxtapositions and stylized patterning to explore clashes between wilderness and civilization, the individual and community, nature and culture, freedom and restriction.

A Mid-Western baby boomer, Schenck attended the Columbus College of Art and Design from 1965 to 1967.  He received his B.A. in fine Arts from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1969.  While still a young man, Bill moved to New York where he was influenced by the Photo-Realists, Color Field, and Minimalist painters in vogue at the time.  His first solo show in New York sold out at the age of 24.

In the mid-70’s the work exemplified in his paintings drew him West where he split his time between Wyoming and Arizona.  Since then he has had 72 solo shows, 77 group shows and is included in 31 museum collections world-wide.

His work is found in numerous major collections throughout the world and has been the subject of four museum retrospectives, the most recent titled “The West as it Never Was” at the Albrecht Kemper Museum of Art.   The artist currently resides in Santa Fe where new influences and inspirations are beginning to emerge in his art.

Biography from Tucson Museum of Art:
Billy Schenck has been known internationally for over 44 years as one of the originators of the contemporary Western pop art movement. Schenck has had over 100 solo shows and is included in 45 museum collections. He is an American painter who incorporates techniques from photorealism with a pop art sensibility to both exalt and poke fun at images of the West.
 
Career highlights for the artist include the 2013 Utah Museum of Fine Art’s exhibit "Bierstadt to Warhol: American Indians in the West"; the Denver Art Museum’s "Western Horizons"; and a retrospective of serigraphs created by Schenck from 1971 to 1996 at the Tucson Museum of Art.
 
Museum collections include the Mesa Southwest Museum, The Tucson Museum of Art, The Denver Art Museum, Museum of the Southwest, Midland TX, Albuquerque Fine Arts Museum and the New Mexico Museum of Art.

Private collections include the estate of Malcolm Forbes, Steve Forbes, Chris Evert, Elaine Horwitch, Louis Meisel, Martina Navratilova, Laurance Rockefeller, the estate of Fritz Scholder, and Sylvester Stallone. Corporate collections include American Airlines, IBM, Raymond James Financial, Wells Fargo Bank, Hilton Hotels, Sturm, Ruger & Co., and the Swiss National Bank.
 
What has remained constant throughout Schenck’s career is his individuality in dealing with the subject matter of the West. Using the artistic formula of classic Western film direction and the photographically reliant systems of contemporary art, he has bridged two genres that resonate with the American experience. From early depictions of cinematic cowboys to real-life cowboys and cowgirls, to poetic reveries about the Native American existence in the Southwest, Schenck melds the real with the imagined, autobiography with fantasy. 

—Julie Sasse, Chief Curator and Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Tucson Museum of Art
 


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