John Buck


John Buck, Dreamworld, 1988, bronze, 103x97x33". Gift of AT & T Inc. deCordova Permanent Collection

Working primarily with wood, John Buck moves between 2D and 3D from woodblock prints to carved wood assemblage. His training as a sculptor during college informs most of his work which consists of large-scale wooden sculptures that exist on their own as kinetic works or are sometimes cast in bronze, as seen at deCordova. Through all of his mediums he attempts to meld contemporary social and political issues with a formal focus on balance and composition.

Dream World, on view in deCordova’s Sculpture Park, is emblematic of Buck’s bronze cast work. Starting with jelutong, a soft white wood, Buck hacks and chisels the material to make his characteristically headless human figures. Once it is cast in bronze, each mark made remains visible eschewing a slick and polished look for a handmade aesthetic. The genderless figure on display carefully balances a sphere patterned with vertical and horizontal lines on one end and an oversized flattened disc affixed behind a simplistic human face. For Buck, each side of the scale represents our conscious and unconscious states. The body in the center balances the tangible reality of life with the illusive world of dreams.

About the Artist

John Buck received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1968 and his MFA from UC Davis in 1972. He taught sculpture at Gloucestershire College of Art and Design in Cheltenham, England; Humboldt State University in Arcata, California; and Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. He has created several major sculpture commissions and his work is in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, The Brooklyn Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Seattle Art Museum, The Library of Congress and many others.

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