by Amy K. Lavender
Carrollton artist and former University of West Georgia Art Department Chair Bruce Bobick recently landed in Scotland, where his art is currently being showcased in the 136th Annual Open Winter Exhibition in Edinburgh hosted by the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour.
The exhibit is juried and open to watercolor artists around the globe. Bobick was on hand to attend the reception that opened the exhibit on Jan. 8, after which the exhibit will remain on display at the Scottish National Galleries Academy Building until Jan. 28.
Bobick, for whom UWG’s Bobick Gallery is named, said he’s excited to attend the exhibition and see how his work compares to his peers’ worldwide.
“It’s a great opportunity to connect with the art community and see everyone’s work,” Bobick said. “I don’t want to say it’s like the Olympics, but you are competing with the best.”
Bobick, who taught art at UWG for 29 years, retired in 2005. However, he still lives in Carrollton and gets up at 7:30 a.m. each morning and drives to his studio on Forest Drive, where he spends at least five hours a day on his craft. As a result, he’s as busy as ever, having been accepted into the Fourth Nanjing International Watermedia Masters Invitational Exhibition on the heels of his Royal Scottish Society invite. This will be his second invitation to the Nanjing exhibit, which will be held later this year.
“I was surprised to be invited to China a second time. Two years before, I won the top prize in watercolor at the National Watercolor Society Exhibition in Los Angeles, so I think that’s how I got invited to [Nanjing] because Chinese artists were at that show as well.”
Bobick says he is looking forward to both exhibitions and the opportunity to share his most recent works with his colleagues. The piece accepted by the Royal Scottish Society is one of a series and is titled “Litany XIX: The Woman with the Alabaster Jar.” The work depicts a scene from the Bible in which an unnamed woman with an alabaster jar washes Jesus’ feet with her tears and dries them with her hair.
“Modern art usually doesn’t have much religious content to it,” Bobick explained, “and I wanted to do some things that were unique but still have some religious content to them. When you take the history of art, like Michelangelo and Rembrandt, you discover that they looked at religious art in a very different way. It was current to them, and they made great statements. I’m not saying I’m a Rembrandt or Michelangelo, but I’m trying to make contemporary statements about how I look at things with this religious work.”
The piece that will be appearing in Nanjing is also one in a series, entitled “Lanterns des Morts: Jihadists.” The painting depicts a group of birds looking up silently at a representation of jihadis. While the topic could be considered controversial, Bobick says he’s simply commenting on what is going on around him.
“All these Lanterns de Morte, they’re all foretelling an impending danger, either past or present. It’s either death or Viking raids, etc.; I have one piece that depicts Joan of Arc burning at the stake. Because it is a dark topic, people will ask me ‘Why are you doing this?’ But I think if it’s on your mind and you’re thinking about it, that’s where your ideas come from. I try to be sensitive to what’s going on in the world around me.”
In addition to attending these international exhibits, Bobick has two local shows planned for this year. His work will appear at the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center later this year alongside the work of his former students from both UWG and Western Illinois. He also plans to have a show at the Cultural Arts Council of Douglasville and Douglas County, where his work will be shown alongside that of his daughter, Bryna Bobick, who is an associate professor of art education at the University of Memphis.Posted on