Lewis Buck: Beyond The Surface

By Christine Elder

Contributing Writer

Currently exhibiting in the Fine Art Museum of The Fine and Performing Arts Center at Western Carolina University is Lewis Buck with his life works in painting and assemblage. Spanning over six decades and still in the process of making art, Lewis Buck has not only given us a glimpse of history but also tells the story of someone who enjoyed his adventures and travels. His enthusiasm and sensitivities are reflected in the fifty acrylic paintings and collages on display. Using vibrant colors for his palette, there is a continuity and a sense of contentment to Buck’s extraordinary work.

Looking at Buck’s work in a comparison to each other, I have selected “Burrid Treasure”, 6.5×8.75 inches, a 1977 collage. For a piece of this size, it contains a lot of texture using a lot of various cloth pieces adhered to the surface, then painted over in yellows, pinks, and other pastel colors. This piece gave me a sense of orderly and timeliness and that these things were little gems and sacred in their own right in their own time.

Another piece displayed near “Burrid Treasure” was another acrylic collage named “Veronica” 50×72 inches done in 1980, the color palette being more in the earth-tone family. The fabric of this somewhat larger piece displays a freer disposition, down to earth, celebrating life on earth.

The last piece that I wish to comment on is “Kinzo Harbor”, acrylic on canvas, 44×50 inches painted in 1981, a year after “Veronica”. The vibrancy of colors on this painting left me with a sense of wishing you were there. I could envision the sun penetrating through the sails; thus provoking a dreamy and relaxing atmosphere.

I found it interesting that over the span of four years that these paintings, although stayed within a continuity of style, could display three separate mind-sets all leading up to a pinnacle. This exhibition of Buck’s work was inspirational on many levels. The strong compositions, the choice of fabrics for the collages all had a richness to them that were unsurpassed. Thank-you Lewis Buck.