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Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation

Past Exhibitions

Gary Bukovnik: Watercolors and Monoprints

17 August – 22 October 1995

The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation and Concept Art Gallery presented this collaborative exhibition. Cleveland-born and educated Gary Bukovnik is a Slovene-American artist who has lived in San Francisco for 20 years. The Watercolors and Monoprints traveling exhibition, exhibited at the Jakopic Gallery in Ljubljana, Slovenia, was organized by Slovenska Izseljenska Matica (SIM), a government agency that maintains ties with Slovene immigrants and people of Slovene descent in order to promote cultural exchange.

In selecting flowers as his principal subject, Bukovnik expresses his ardent and long-term artistic interest in flowers and blooming plants. Brooklyn Museum curator Barry Walker has remarked that Bukovnik "has taken from the past what he could use and filtered it through a twentieth-century sensibility. In the process, he has redefined the way we look at flowers." Although he uses several media, including lithography and aquatint, he primarily works in watercolor and monotype.

James J. White (1941–2011; Hunt Institute Curator of Art, 1982–2010) suggested that in a Bukovnik watercolor one may see "both delicate and strong lines used to rough in the composition, brilliant color, large scale, and sometimes an interesting container (or more often a simple glass of water), usually set against a deliberate absence of background. In some of his compositions, the space left unpainted is as important as that painted. Bukovnik's intention is to have his images appear easily drawn, never labored. His work is romantic emotional, and intense." Judith Gordon, in an opening essay for the 1990 book Flowers: Gary Bukovnik Watercolors and Monotypes, hailed Bukovnik's paintings as "the work of an artist who is as well-acquainted with the form of flowers as with their spirit."

Bukovnik's artwork is represented in diverse private, corporate and public collections, including the H. J. Heinz Company, Citibank, the Atlanta Botanical Garden, the Smithsonian Institution and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as Hunt Institute, and has been featured in numerous one-person and group exhibitions in this country and in Europe. He also donates his art to community and civic organizations such as the San Francisco Symphony. Gary Bukovnik presented a watercolor demonstration at Concept Art Gallery on Saturday, 16 September 1995, at 10:00 a.m.