Friday, October 14, 2011

John Page | American Artist

Artworks © John Page

For more than thirty years, printmaker and painter John Page (1923-) was on the faculty at the University of Northern Iowa. He retired in 1988, and he and his wife Mary Lou moved to a retirement community in Arizona. Above are two of my favorite works from the hundreds he produced over a long (and on-going) artistic career. As a graphic designer, I am inevitably drawn to images not so much for the story they tell—but because they tell it well. The top image is a monoprint of a reclining nude, completed by John in 1980. I find it breathtaking when an artwork teeters on the line between structural perfection and gestural spontaneity; surely, this print does just that. The lower image is one of twenty small colored etchings (called the River Series) that John made in the summer of 1966. They are based on on-site drawings of seemingly insignificant scenes along the Cedar River, in the vicinity of Cedar Falls, Iowa (where the university is located). Again, while I surely relate to the story that's told, I am even more deeply astonished by the rhythmic perfection ("the exact words in the right order") that makes it an even more beautiful poem. In recent years, still living in the Southwest, John has turned to small, abstract watercolors, and, at the moment (October thru December 2011), some of these are being shown at the Posada Java in Green Valley AZ.