A cage as the back of a chair. A chicken with the top of a tree as its tail. A pair of legs with a window as the torso. Humorous yet thought-provoking, these images are all just part of a day’s work for a famous lithographer.
“Things Put Together By Hand Without Instructions In A Basement” is the newest art exhibit at the Covey Center for the Arts in downtown Provo, featuring lithographs and collages by internationally-renowned artist Wayne Kimball. The gallery opened last Friday night and runs until Nov. 22.
Lithography uses stone plates, metal, ink and a concoction of chemicals to produce unique images. When describing the process, Kimball said he takes an assembly of pictures and drawings for his collages and lithographs and has to create a separate drawing for each color, which can take a lot of time.
“The lithographs are kind of like collages except they’re much more formal and require a lot more time to do,” the former BYU art teacher said. “Each impression is printed one time by hand. Some pieces can have up to 15, 16, or 17 runs, which means it can take up to a year to be completed.”
Kimball’s pieces each contain a collection of seemingly random objects that are meticulously assembled. He said that part of what gets him excited about art is the joy of discovering items that fit together.
“You know how excited you get when you find an object you just love? That’s how I get,” Kimball said. “I love finding objects and photos and putting them together.”
Part of the fun of his creative process is coming up with the quirky and humorous titles for his equally quirky pieces. One collage, titled “Chair for a Shy Person,” features a chair with enclosed arms, appearing shy and demure itself. Andrew Kimball, Wayne’s son, said the titles are just as much a part of the piece as the art.
“When I was a kid I didn’t understand it at all,” Andrew Kimball said. “But now that I’m older I can assimilate the titles with the pictures. It makes it just a humorous experience.”
Kimball finds inspiration for his art in various places. One piece, titled “San Gallo,” which features a chicken with a tree as its tail in Roman-style building, was inspired by a study abroad trip to Italy. The art school was on San Gallo Street, and when Kimball found out that ‘gallo’ meant ‘chicken’ in Italian, he based his piece on that. Another lithograph, “The Consummate Professional Cat and his Ancestral Hero” features Catbert from the “Dilbert” comics and a Roman sculpture of a cat.
“He gets his inspiration from a bunch of different places, including newspapers and magazines,” Andrew Kimball said. “He’ll find a piece from a magazine, cut it out, and use it.”
Kimball’s work has been featured in museums and galleries across the nation, including The National Museum of American Art, The Brooklyn Museum and the Library of Congress. He has also received more than 75 awards from competitive exhibitions.
“It’s been great to be able to travel the country and be recognized for my work,” Wayne Kimball said. “It feels nice.”
Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday. The exhibit is free.