Friday, March 20, 2009

Wayne Thiebaud on KQED

It's been an extremely busy week at Chez Namaste Nancy. At the invitation of Meredith Gandy, the associate arts publicist for KQED, I got to attend their reception honoring four awesome women, "unsung" heroines of the Bay Area. Unfortunately, because I was at that reception, I missed the episode on Wayne Thiebaud with a rare interview with the 88-year old artist. When I lamented this, Meredith pointed me in the direction of their arts page, where all the Spark episodes and much more are uploaded.

Originally a commercial artist, he returned to college after his WW II service, eventually earning a degree and teaching at UC Davis. In the 1960, during a visit to NY, he was inspired by the work of de Kooning, Kline, Rauschenberg and others to launch the paintings of food that became part of the pop iconongraphy of our time.

Although Thiebaud may be best known for his everyday subject matter, his works are also painstaking examinations of the fundamental language of paint: light, color, space, composition and surface. Each canvas offers him an investigation of a series of formal problems. A painting of a bowl of cherries might reveal a study of varied light effects, while a San Francisco cityscape might allow him the opportunity to play with rational space. I found this section particularly fascinating, given that I had just seen the Staprans exhibit at Hackett-Freedman whose works have some echoes of Thiebaud but whose treatment of paint and subject matter are different.

Spark visits with Thiebaud in his studio as he prepares for a traveling retrospective of his work from the past 50 years, including more than a hundred paintings. Though many of the paintings were completed years before, Thiebaud tirelessly works and reworks aspects of images that he wants to change, often building up the surfaces of his backgrounds, resolving the image, then reopening it again.

If you missed the original airing, the show will be repeated on Fri, Mar 20, 2009 -- 11:30pm and
Sat, Mar 21, 2009 -- 5:30am

There are also some new posts up at Bay Area Art Quake:
Other Thiebaud Links:
CBS Sunday Morning:


Eva said...

I LOVE Thiebaud - thanks for this.

Bill Stankus said...

Coming of age in the Sacramento are, the first great art I was exposed to was that of Thiebaud, Mel Ramos and Ralph Goings.

I have never lost enthusiasm for Thiebaud (and the the others too).

I appreciate your posting.

Sheree Rensel said...

Oh Nancy! You have such great taste! I think of the work of Wayne Thiebaud ALL THE TIME. Love it. It is so strong and just plain wonderful to look at!! :-)

Zoomie said...

Many thanks for reminding me about the Spark show and the alternate dates. I'm a huge Thiebaud fan and, if I won the lottery, I'd be looking for one of his paintings as my first splurge!

Zoomie said...

We found the Spark show and enjoyed it thoroughly - Thiebaud is so matter-of-fact about his work while producing magic. Thanks again!

mklee said...

Thanks Nancy!

For those of you who didn't catch it on TV or don't live in the SF Bay Area, you can watch Wayne's segment online on the Spark homepage on their video player about half way down the page: