The Piano Craft Gallery is honored to share with you an extensive retrospective of works on paper by the esteemed local artist, scholar, teacher, and former Piano Craft Guild resident Ken Beck.
Show Dates: August 2nd, 2019 - August 25th, 2019
Gallery Hours: Friday 6-8PM & Saturday 12:00-5:00PM
Friday August 2nd, 2019
Ken Beck was born in Salem, MA and has been painting for more than 60 years. As a highly distinguished artist, he has been a presence in the Boston art scene for decades. Beck gained the admiration and respect of curators, critics, collectors, and most of all artists and students. He taught at Lesley University College of Art and Design (formerly the Art Institute of Boston) for 25 years.
Aside from a lifetime of achievements as an artist, Beck is known for his scholarly mind and lively personality. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from Goddard College and a doctorate in anthropology from Union College. Beck went on to earn his Master of Fine Arts degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University and pursued advanced studies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and the Cape School of Art in Provincetown, MA.
Beck paints with oil on canvas. His numerous drawings and watercolors are equally accomplished. Unknown to many of his closest associates, Beck produced smaller bodies of work in lithography, photography, sculpture, and collage.
Beck's works remain rooted in the traditions of solid compositions, exquisite drawing, and beautiful color. His subjects are mostly representational: still lifes, portraits, and landscapes. However, with his perceptive concerns for texture, surface, and format, they often approach abstraction. His signature works of simple objects, monumentalized and painted on a large scale, require a keen sensibility. Beck boldly energizes areas of an object that may otherwise be uninteresting, such as the surface of a shiny cylinder or corrosion of an old cake pan, to create moments of transformation, not just as paintings, but forever in the viewer's eye and mind.
Beck's work is in numerous public, private, and corporate collections. The Boston Public Library has more than 90 of his drawings. Among the numerous recognitions he has received are a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship and a Pollock Krasner Award.
For more than 30 years, he has been affiliated with Gallery NAGA and lived at the Piano Craft Guild. Beck has always been honored and grateful to have both of these relationships in Boston and for his long career as an artist.
Beck's academic diplomas signify his interest in vast areas of study and indicate someone who has a scholar's fascination for the world around him. His personal library covers topics ranging from Aztec hieroglyphics to American prison reform.
Literature, art theory, poetry and philosophy are a few of the many subjects, in addition to hundreds of monographs and biographies on artists he admires.
Known as the "culture vulture" of Lesley Art and Design, Beck always had advice on what books to read, which movie or play to see, and which recording of Miles Davis or Bach is best. His extensive travels took him as far as China and Egypt, and his years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines in the 1960s reveal a heart and compassion that as are notable as his knowledge and curiosity.
Although Beck taught at other institutions and programs, he is most strongly affiliated with Lesley University and the Art Institute of Boston. Initially hired to teach painting and drawing, it did not take long for Beck to branch out into other subjects.
He designed a class, Abstract Painting, and another that was extremely popular, Abstract Drawing, which he taught strictly in ink wash. His broader knowledge and mindfulness resulted in the development of two art history-based courses, Art and War, and Art and Anthropology. Beloved for decades by young artists and admired by his colleagues, ultimately led to Beck receiving the Outstanding Teaching Award from Lesley Art and Design.
The Piano Craft Gallery advances the understanding of contemporary visual and performing arts in the community and promotes artistic purposes through exhibits, performances, lectures, meetings, and seminars in connection with matters of artistic concern. The Piano Craft Gallery is an all volunteer-run non-profit community gallery space devoted to sharing artists’ work with the public.
The Piano Craft Gallery, dedicated to offering thought-provoking and engaging exhibitions, is a historic Boston landmark located at 793 Tremont Street, Boston, Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.pianocraftgallery.com, www.facebook.com/artpcgboston, or https://www.instagram.com/artpcgboston.