John Buck was born in Iowa in 1946 and now lives in Bozeman, Montana. He is both a printmaker and a sculptor.
He works with two interrelated bodies of work: carved wood, assemblage and bronze sculptures, and large, multicolored woodblock prints. Since beginning his collaboration with Bud Shark in 1983, Buck has explored the expressive possibilities of woodblock in more than 30 prints. Using a pen, a nail, or his fingernail, Buck incises the wood planks that form the base and background of his prints with images and symbols drawn from the daily news, from his own sculpture and from nature. Embedded in this active visual field is a large, carved image, often a figure, but he has also depicted a jar full of fireflies, an eagle, or a subtly colored moth. The relationship between these two elements first engages the viewer in an appreciation of the beauty of the graphic quality in the print and then begins a conversation about our world and our place in it.
Buck’s recent woodcuts include “Heart Mountain Wyoming” which confronts the viewer with intricate images of Japanese culture drawn as in a tapestry but in the disgraceful context of U.S. internment camps in World War II. “Crystal Lake”, with its central image of a Mason jar containing a swimming turtle, continues Buck’s series of woodcuts using this evocative vessel to contain a commentary on the state of our environment.
John Buck lives in Montana and Hawaii and has shown his woodcuts and sculptures widely. A retrospective exhibition of his prints was organized by the Fine Art Museums of San Francisco in 1993 and traveled to the Contemporary Museum in Honolulu, the Palm Springs Desert Museum in California, the University of Southwestern Louisiana Art Museum and the Loveland Museum in Colorado.