MINSCHEW: BAMBOO/BETWEEN CULTURES
Japan/ Italy/ Bali/ California

 

I stirred the mass of my own cargo with a bamboo pole transporting "me" into new dimensions of myself in quest of archetypes with present and past. In so doing, I entered into the GLOBAL STUDIO striving to pull two hemispheres together closing the gap on FRESNO.

William E. Minschew

 

In the springtime of 1989, Minschew toured Japan meeting with many artists designated and honored as Living Treasures by their countrymen. All of Japan became a lesson of nature's spirituality as well as intensifying the artist's sensitivity to detail and the civility evidenced in interpersonal relationships. The elegance and grace of the Japanese pervade their architecture, landscape, sculpture, painting, pottery, textiles, music, dance, theater and cuisine.

Struck by the eloquent diversity of bamboo's structure as well as by the reverence in which this material is held throughout Asia, Minschew's response as an artist to this new material has created a striking new body of work. His sculptures are imaginative reflections triggered by the spiritual qualities of bamboo and his receptive responses to the form and shapes of the ceremonial bell, to the kimono, and to the roof tops of Japan and Bali. His emotional connections to the fire of Italian foundries and the beauty of Florence contrasted by the cerebral dimensions of 30 computer programs in virtual reality, compounded by the meditative clarity of the sounds of wind in the bamboo forests of Bali, and the isolation of the artist's California studio, Volterra, have combined to form a compelling exhibition revealing the spiritual dimensions of these global expressions as evidenced by these archetypal forms.

Recently Minschew attended the International Bamboo Congress in Bali, Indonesia, that had been organized by designer Linda Garland and attended by 600 international delegates. Three stone and bamboo sculptures by Minschew were installed in the congress' grand pavilion along with twenty color photographs from the artist's 1994 Florence exhibition. Returning to Fresno, inspired by the new experience of Balinese culture, Minschew added sandstone and wood elements combined with the bamboo and bronze of the earlier Japanese, Italian, and Fresno work.

This exhibition features work from both the Florence Exhibition and from the Bali series. The work has been inspired by bamboo primarily, but includes crocodile and hibiscus woods as well as Japanese paper and bronze as medium. The bamboo tile roofs of Bangli and the rain protectors once worn by rice farmers will be integrated as components of new sculpture created for this exhibition.

Bill Minschew was born in North Carolina in 1937 and graduated with honors form the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, B.S. 1959, M.F.A. 1961. Upon graduation he received a national Fulbright scholarship for post graduate work to study 17th century sculpture and painting towards architecture at Academia di Belle Arte, Rome, Italy, 1961-62. Returning to the States, he accepted a professorship at California State University in Fresno, California in 1963. He fell in love with the West and especially with the Sierra Foothills that reminded him of Tuscany. For the next thirty years he taught, sculpted, painted and built 'Volterra", his studio, home, and gardens on top of a 20-acre foothill overlooking the San Joaquin Valley. He engaged his creative efforts in some twenty-two one-man exhibitions, one hundred and three group exhibitions, one federal commission, twenty-six private commissions, and twenty-six publications. His works appear in one hundred and eight private collections.

Jacquelin Pilar
Associate Curator Fresno
Art Museum

ARTIST