Bob Zuck

Having rummaged up some paintings for our show, it is now hoped that I can come up with some words to accompany them.  Not likely, certainly no cogent essay on process or deeper meanings is forthcoming.  In the same way that I gazed out the window during David Greenstein’s class, analytical dissections of literature whizzing over my head, I was most likely marveling at the beautiful new Johnson Building’s lofty studio space while Bruce Muirhead was introducing us to the world of painting.  A.R. Turner’s enthralling lectures on the history of art should have taught me something about composition and iconography.  I’m sure we learned how to stretch a canvas, and beyond that, I remember Bruce stalking around the room, hands clasped behind his back, muttering affirmations and quotes from the then brand new Archie Bunker.  During figure drawing, he urged us to grab big hunks of our face to try to imagine the bone structure supporting all that padding.  I was anything but a serious student at this point, so this period becomes a blur.  If there was any actual instruction in applying paint to canvas, I had probably slipped out of the room in favor of the luscious grand pianos in the study carrels below us.


So I remain untethered to any disciplined approach to painting, and what I may have come up with in this last half century, is the result of brute force, and a wildly inefficient yard sale style, bashing away in the dark.  A closet stuffed with “easel deaths” attests to this.  Anything I ever did was accomplished with no thought to composition, color theory, imagery or theme.  Clearly this approach was nothing to base a business on, so I found yet another way to earn money.  Since 1986, I have been up to my elbows in potting soil, a fragrant, forgiving, and fertile medium if ever there was one.  Deckscaping with potted plants can actually be a sort of painterly endeavor.  However, moving big pots is not for sissies, so I will eventually throw in the towel and hopefully paint a lot more.      

The college experience ends up being about the people you meet, and little about the knowledge imparted.  Thank you for the amazing privilege to be able to work in the Johnson Building until the night janitor closed us out.  And thanks to Muirhead and Bumbeck for the example of a way to be.  A special thanks to Brent Seabrook and Craig Morris for putting this whole thing together.  I am anxious to see what Brent is calling “Great stuff”.