FLOWERING STARS: Prints By Dwight Pogue
April 13–August 19
Printmaker Dwight Pogue has been a member of the Department of Art since 1979. Flowering Stars celebrates and commemorates his retirement, showcasing the progression of his work in print over his almost 40-years at Smith.
Natural forms have preoccupied Pogue since his days as an art student in Kansas. During his time at Kansas State College in the mid 1960s, Pogue often worked in screen printing, hand-cutting stencils to create organic compositions out of flat planes of color.
A watershed moment in Pogue’s work came in 1982 when Smith College acquired a motorized flatbed offset proofing press, which made it possible to print layers and a range of textures in lithography. Shortly thereafter he began to work in earnest on flower subjects, first inspired by the book Flower and Fruit Prints of the Early 18th and 19th Centuries, found in Smith’s Hillyer Art Library, and later through his own photographs of plants at Smith’s Lyman Plant house and other botanical gardens.
In 1984 Pogue founded the Smith College Print Workshop, an annual program that brings prominent visual artists and master printers to the studio classroom to collaborate on a limited-edition print. This program continues to be an important tool for teaching students and the public about fine art printmaking.
Throughout the years, Pogue has continued to add new media and approaches to his art including digital printing, development of new techniques for lithographic printing, his work in championing the use safer solvents in college and university print shops, and the publication of the book Printmaking Revolution: New Advancements in Technology, Safety and Sustainability (2012).
Pogue has allied his interests in botany and environmental protection in his latest works, the “Flowering Stars” of the title, in which flowers are rendered as stylized forms in bright colors. These “superhero” blossoms draw upon the imagery of comic books to present a compelling image of natural survival in an uncertain future.
This exhibition is supported by the Louise Walker Blaney, class of 1939, Fund for Exhibitions.
Image: Dwight Pogue. United States, born 1944. Break in the Battle, 2016. Lithograph. Courtesy of the artist.