Tuesday, April 08, 2008

James Skvarch

James Skvarch, Going Over the Sketches for the Last of the Big Paintings
Etching, 18" x 24", 1989

I first saw James Skvarch’s work nearly twenty years ago at an arts festival in Ithaca, New York. The Commons were crazy that weekend, James Skvarch’s booth was busy, and I didn’t stick around to tell him how much I liked his work. I should have grabbed a card; I probably thought I’d remember his name. Or if not, I’d run into him again at another show, another year. But I didn’t.

Years later, when finding an artist’s work became simply a matter of Googling their name or a work’s title, one day I thought, Hey, what about that guy we saw that year at the Ithacafest? I remembered, I was sure, at least one title–Well, as it turned out, not exactly. So Google couldn’t help either.

It’s hard to reach back now, recapture much of my initial impression of James Skvarch’s work. Memory-postcards of that day have browned to sepia, corners curled up the way they do; detail is lost in the creases, bleached away in the faded sunlight of that long-gone summer afternoon. Mostly, I remember thinking that those drawings (I’d find I'd gotten that wrong too; they were etchings) felt like illustrations for John Crowley’s Little, Big.

That much, at least, I got right.

Then in January 2007, on Charley Parker’s blog Lines and Colors, this post on James Skvarch. And in his site’s Archives, the image I’d remembered, Going Over the Sketches for the Last of the Big Paintings.

James Skvarch's work is imaginative, inspiring. His etchings and paintings have a timelessness about them, a wonderful sense of mystery and distance and intimacy and endless beckoning possibility, all at once. All qualities, of course, that I admire, and hope remain at the heart of my own work.

James Skvarch on Lines and Colors
James Skvarch’s website

Reading: John Crowley’s Love and Sleep. New trade paperback reissue of the Aegypt Cycle from Small Beer Press

Now Playing: Jay Calder’s The Second Quadrant. Stellar acoustic guitar from the cd Breakfast With Barnabas