17/09/2005. Contributed by Jessica Martin
Seldom seen works of science fiction illustrator John Berkey will be featured at a special exhibition in the USA.
The show runs Friday through Saturday, Sept. 23rd-25th 2005, at ArtOrg's Moving Walls Gallery, 200 Division Street South in Northfield, USA. The opening reception will be on Friday, Sept. 23 from 6 to 10 p.m. and will continue on Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. The exhibit is a part of Northfield's annual Art Crawl and is free and open to the public. The first 100 visitors to the exhibition opening reception on Friday night will receive a pack of 10 John Berkey trading cards.
The show is the first of ArtOrg's two presentations of Berkey's work this fall. The shows are believed to be the first significant solo gallery exhibitions of Berkey's work ever held and each will include a number of works never before seen by the public.
The works to be exhibited in September during the Art Crawl show include at least twelve original artworks, including drawings of the human form and rocks from the Lake Superior shoreline. The exhibition will include a painting that has hung in Berkey's bedroom for 20 years and snowboards produced with Berkey art. There will be an exhibition of 100 book and 20 magazine covers featuring his work, including one of his best known-the cover of the 1970 Fawcett edition of Isaac Asimov's "I, Robot." Some of the works will be available for purchase.
Berkey was born in North Dakota and grew up in South Dakota and Montana before settling in Minnesota. "I started painting right away," he wrote in an autobiographical essay. After attending the Minneapolis School of Art and taking various studio jobs, he became a staff artist at the Brown & Bigelow advertising firm for eight years. During that time, Berkey produced more than 500 calendar images, featuring everything from pastoral scenes to historic tableaus, before turning to freelance illustration in 1963.
Renowned for his robust and impressionistic style, he has created paintings for book covers, movie posters, advertisements, and publications such as National Geographic, Life, Time, Sports Afield, the Eddie Bauer Catalog and TV Guide. His images appear on 16 U.S. stamps and he was the illustrator of the "elder Elvis" in the Elvis Presley stamp competition of the early 1990s.
"The big difference between all of this work and the science fiction art that came later," Berkey wrote in the forward to a book about his art, "The Art of John Berkey" by Jane Frank, "might seem to be that the calendar illustrations depicted reality, while, for the most part, the science fiction art was made up. As a matter of fact, my commercial work usually had to be imagined before it could be painted..."
Berkey is perhaps best known for his science fiction illustrations. Among those attracted to his science-fiction illustrations was the young George Lucas, who commissioned him to work on the pre-production designs for "Star Wars."
In 2004, Berkey was named to the 104-year-old Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame, which includes Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth, Frederick Remington and John James Audubon. He has been nominated by the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists for the Chesley Award for Artistic Achievement and has been a guest of honor at a number of science fiction conventions.
The second and larger exhibition, titled "John Berkey Observed," will open on Friday, Nov. 4. and will include the world premiere screening of several of Berkey's experimental video productions on Saturday, Nov. 5. The exhibition will feature over 50 original works spanning Berkey's entire career. Many of the works will be available for purchase. Gallery show times are yet to be determined.
For more information and disability accommodations, contact ArtOrg at (507) 645-2555. Check them out over at http://www.artorg.info
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