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 George Dombek  (1944 - )

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Lived/Active: Arkansas/New York      Known for: watercolor painting-nature scenes, portraits

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George Dombek
An example of work by George Dombek
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
In the late 1970s, fresh out of college with an architectural degree, watercolorist George Dombek, of Fayetteville, Arkansas, gained recognition with his patterned studies of San Francisco fire escapes. When he moved to Ohio to teach at Youngstown State University in 1979, his attention turned to steel mills. While teaching at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, tobacco barns caught his eye.

"I've been inspired by going different places," he remarks. "The moment I moved somewhere else, I began by responding to what I was seeing. You can't paint barns in San Francisco." Dombek's travels in the United States, Europe and the Middle East, and his education emphasizing the coupling of art and architecture, has influenced his perceptual style and subject selections. And although some of his images depict man-made structures, the artist sees no inconsistency in the theme of his recent works, which are influenced by his study of nature and his need to coalesce with it. "Each painting I do is a prelude to the next," he states. "There is something in a painting just completed that drives me into the next one."

Dombek's exhibitions include the Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio. He received a B.A. degree in Architectural Design from the University of Arkansas in 1974, and an M.F.A. in painting from the University of Arkansas in 1977.

"Often," he explains, "artists who have lots of control in their watercolors use small brushstrokes over and over. But my paintings result from a combination of the spontaneity of the liquid medium and the control in protecting areas with mask."
Masking allows Dombek to paint one area and keep a very sharp edge. He has employed various masking techniques since he was in graduate school in the mid-1970s, but it wasn't until several years ago, when he noticed sidewalk painters in Italy using clear plastic tape, that he tried what is now his favorite masking agent. "I thought the tape would destroy the paper," he says, but his use of heavy Arches 300-lb rough paper avoids any problems.

Dombek uses watercolor for the majority of his work, but on occasion, he paints with acrylic, diluting it like watercolor. About ten years ago, he began to experiment with airbrush. "It does a couple of things extremely well," he notes. "Airbrush can create a gradation or a textural mottling, but above all, it can illustrate light."

Despite Dombek's precision, he categorically disclaims any relationship with Photo Realism. "I don't want people to look at one of my rock paintings and see a beach. I want them to see what I perceive, to become visually and mentally engaged in the abstraction of what is there in front of them."

Although working in his studio, Dombeck finds his inspiration in life experiences. "I don't just set up a still life in the studio. My paintings evolve from the excitement of selected optical encounters and are a visual response to them." He may seek out these encountersas when he visited Italy's Elba Island and came across the rock formations that inspired his pebble seriesbut more often, Dombek finds new subjects by painting what is around him.

Tyson Foods Corporate Headquarters, Springdale, AR
Taylors' Contemporary Fine Arts, Hot Springs, AR
Arts and Science Center, Pine Bluff, AR
Bell Gallery, Memphis, TN
Indigo Gallery, Boca Raton, FL
Palmer Gallery, Hot Springs, AR
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
M.A. Duran Gallery, Tulsa, OK
University of Central Arkansas, Conway, AR
Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, AR
Nan Miller Gallery, Rochester, NY
Leslie Levy Fine Arts, Scottsdale, AZ
Rosenfeld Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Florida A & M University, Tallahassee, FL
621 Gallery, Tallahassee, FL

Source: Ruth Mitchell, "Watercolor Magazine", Fall 2002
And from internet:

Biography from Greg Thompson Fine Art:
George Dombek was born in 1944 and has spent his life painting.  He developed his skills at the University of Arkansas where he received his masters in Fine Art and Architecture.

Known as a naturalist watercolor painter, Dombek does subjects that include rocks, trees, bamboo, and has branched out into contemporary genre with his series entitled Ozark Portraits.

In this series he creates simple narratives with found objects that create portraits and often examine aspects of society and the human condition.  A recent recipient of the Pollock – Krasner Grant (from the Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner Foundation), Dombek now splits his time between Northwest Arkansas and New York City where he has established a studio.

His work can be found in many public collections including: the Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, AR; The Springfield Art Museum, Springfield, MO; the Butler Institute for American Art, Youngstown, OH; and Chase Manhattan Bank, New York, NY.

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