|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|The following biography is from the artist, November 2000.|
Bill Schenck is a contemporary American painter who incorporates
techniques from Photo-Realism with a Pop Art sensibility to both exalt
and poke fun at images of the West. Like the heroes he idolized in
B-Westerns, Schenck might well be called the "Good Badman" of Western
Early in his career, he became known for
appropriating cinematic imagery, which he reproduced in a flattened,
reductivist style, where colors are laid side by side rather than
blended or shadowed. Drawing upon narrative tensions that have
attracted mass audiences to western fiction and movies, Schenck 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.
irreverence in associating western heroes with racism, the drug scene,
consumerism and sexuality let to an evolving series of works.
Among them one finds deserts populated with cowgirls sipping champagne
on the bumpers of Rolls Royces, Native Americans contemplating the
statistics of their land loss, and "cerealized" self-portraits of the
artist in leather and sunglasses.
Born in the Midwest in 1947, a
quintessential baby-boomer, Bill Schenck attended the Columbus College
of Art and Design from 1965 1967. He then transferred to the
Kansas City Art Institute in Missouri, where he received a Bachelor of
Fine Arts degree in 1969. One week after graduation, he moved to
the Soho district of New York City, where many first generation
Photo-Realists, Color Field, and Minimal painters were gaining national
and international acclaim.
Schenck became loosely associated
with this early group of Photo-Realists and attained gallery
representation both in Europe and in New York City. His first
solo show in New York sold out when he was 24 years old. Over the
next several years, Schenck had four solo shows in New York City and a
successful solo show in Brussels, Belgium. He was also included
in many group shows in France, Italy and Switzerland during this time.
the mid-1970s, a growing fascination with the simple lifestyle emulated
in his paintings encouraged Schenck to move to the West, splitting his
time between Arizona and Wyoming. Now the artist had real life
situations from which to draw upon for his compositions and he made
increasing use of his own photography, eventually diminishing the use
of the fantasy-based movie stills in favor of a new fascinationthe true
Since 1971, Schenck has had 72 solo shows, 77
group shows and is included in 31 museum collections worldwide.
His work is found in 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.
yet real, contemporary yet traditional, grounded in geography but not
confined to it, narrative but not illustrative, serious yet humorous,
comic and tragic, Schencks paintings make us reflect on the universal
Chosen by a panel of scholars---Peter Briggs,
University of Arizona Museum of Art, Brian Dippie, University of
British Columbia, Don Haggerty, Author, Peter Hassrick, University of
Oklahoma, and Anne Morand, Gilcrease Museum---, Schenck was included in
a recent show at the Desert Caballeros Museum titled "Masters of
Western Art, 1900-2000. This show featured the works of 30
leading painters, sculptors and photographers. The exhibition
tells the story of Western Art, its remarkable persistence, and the
changes wrought upon it by time and cultural attitudes.
Schenck moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1997 where undoubtedly new
influences and inspirations are already beginning to emerge. What
has remained constant throughout his career is his individuality in
dealing with the subject matter of the West and his unabashed borrowing
of styles, techniques and color sense in a truly reverential manner.
Color, composition and commentary remain steadfast in his work in all
its forms, and for that Bill Schenck will remain an important figure in
the art of the American West.
Born and raised in rural Ohio,
he is a pop-artist and photo-realist painter of western figures and
landscape who settled in Mesa, Arizona in 1975.
the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio and then graduated in
1969 from the Kansas City Art Institute. In 1971, he went to New York
City and worked for Andy Warhol whose influence is obvious in his work.
He moved West because he loved the subject matter, and the Elaine
Horwitch Galleries of Scottsdale gave him a solo show.
1980s, he began painting in Canyon de Chelly in northeast
Arizona. He works from projected slide images by numbering
sections and having assistants apply the paint.
|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:
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.
Sky Harbor Airport, St. Luke’s Hospital, Lander Valley Medical Center, Mayo Clinic.
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
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.
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
|Biography from Altamira Fine Art:|
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.
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