Despite major hurdles from the recent calendar change, Tom LaDuke will visit the campus as Artist in Residence beginning with his exhibit opening in the Art Gallery on Feb. 20.

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“[LaDuke] does extraordinary refined work in both painting and sculpture. It is work which is marked by extraordinary degree of technical virtuosity,” said Joseph Futtner, interim dean of visual arts and media studies.

The artist in resident program has been successful in the past, especially the last one with  Abelardo Morrell according to an article from March 18.

Many remarked on LaDuke’s unconventional materials used in his works

“He uses a very unusual collision of materials that one would not expect in an artwork,” said Futtner.

“If you look at the individual images on his site, what you will see is a highly naturalistic rendition of some animal form or object, very often understood in a very different direction when you see the listing of the materials used to make that work. It’s that kind of interesting play on your expectations vs. what LaDuke delivers that I think is part of the reward of his creative effort.”

Brian Tucker, director of the art gallery, is also well aware of LaDuke’s method.

“He made a piece that was a veil, a thin veil made up of eyelash hairs in the exact pattern of cracks in some particular Renaissance painting,” said Tucker. “The kind of dedication to bringing into existence such a precise record of such ephemeral a thing as the cracks in a painting is extraordinary.”

Melanie Willhide, photography instructor, was part of the selection committee.

“We were also looking for someone local this year and somebody who also had a bit of mixed media involvement because we had a photographer last year and [LaDuke is] primarily a sculptor and a painter,” she said.

According to LaDuke’s biography at he received a bachelor in fine arts from nearby CSU Fullerton.

In a first for the artist in residence program, the gallery exhibit will open long before the artist begins his residency week on March 18 to accommodate the new schedule after the elimination of winter session.

“It’s a very different calendar and has required that we do a major reshuffling,” said Futtner. “He’ll have the residency but that will not coincide directly with the exhibition of his work and in some ways that’s a little bit of a departure.”

It was hard, said Willhide.  “We made it work but it was definitely really difficult.”

“I think that’s he’s going to be a really wonderful artist in residence. He’s going to be an intense as well as generous person for our school to work with,” said Tucker.

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