Can’t find that perfect gift for the holidays? For the guy or gal with everything,consider artwork by Nebraska native son Roy De Forest whose solo exhibition Of Dogs and Men opens at Vinton Street’s Gallery 72 this Dec.8.
De Forest’s quirky, folksy drawings and prints are colorful excursions into a fantasyland populated by oddly drawn people, dogs and farm animals, humorous doodles, and surreal landscapes.
Born and raised on a farm in North Platte, De Forest and his family suffered during the Great Depression, and moved to a new farm in Washington to start anew. Farm life had an influence on De Forest, and rural/farm themes are often depicted in his works.
The Oakland Museum of California Art just this year exhibited the first ever career retrospective of the work of Roy De Forest, who passed away in 2007. Referred to often as an icon of the Funk Art movement, De Forest’s works are intriguing skits of do-it-yourself mythology. He strongly disagreed with the Funk label, preferring the more appropriate term “Nut Art,” a term devised by De Forest and his contemporaries.
“Nut Art” or not, it’s a somewhat regionally bound (Northern California) genre of colorful, figurative, and funny art that found wider favor and survived as a movement into the 70’s. The work was open-ended, often cartoonish statements that were free from ties to any specific medium or politic; an anything-goes philosophy.
De Forest was an art teacher for almost four decades, and was close friends with two former students, Deborah Butterfield and John Buck. Several prints and drawings, including some with rare, hand-made frames by the artist, are on display and available for purchase.
There is an opening reception on December 8th, from 5pm to 9 pm. The show runs through January 13th, 2018. For more details and gallery hours, go to gallery72.com.