This exhibition pairs the paintings of George Bogart (1933-2005) and the furniture of James Henkle (b. 1927), offering a sampling of their careers, yet it also provides a glimpse, albeit fragmentary, of the cultural climate at the University of Oklahoma during the mid-twentieth century.
The title of the exhibition, Oil and Wood, emphasizes medium because Bogart’s paintings and Henkle’s furniture designs awaken in us a feeling for materials used richly, lovingly. It is not that Bogart painted in oils exclusively; he sometimes painted in acrylics and drew, using various mediums, but he always returned to his preferred medium, oil, whose luminosity attracted him. Likewise, while Henkle constructed metal sculptures and product designs in various media, his most beloved materials were the various woods that he fashioned into functional sculptures of great elegance.
Both George Bogart and James Henkle were long-time and greatly valued faculty members in the University of Oklahoma’s School of Art and Art History. Henkle joined the faculty in 1951, Bogart in 1970; each artist spent some years teaching or working elsewhere, but their longest tenure and strongest commitment was to the University of Oklahoma. Henkle and Bogart were devoted to their many students and both were known to be exceptional teachers. They were supportive of other faculty members and active within the university and the art community as well. Bogart and Henkle influenced hundreds of students, many of whom continue to pursue careers in art.
This catalogue is produced in conjunction with the exhibition Oil & Wood: Oklahoma Moderns George Bogart and James Henkle, on display June 7 – Sept. 14, 2014.
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