William Kent’s large-scale slate prints on fabric and rice paper fall into the various categories of political satire and commentary, erotica, prints from gravestone etchings, and prints that appropriate the border designs of traditional greeting cards. Vibrant, original and out-of-the-box, they were first noticed by the art world in 1966 when Kent’s work appeared alongside work by Philip Guston, Jasper Johns, and Robert Motherwell at the Whitney Museum’s Annual Show. A critic for the Herald-Tribune called them “large, highly amusing and inventive prints that look like Pop posters but really go deeper in their social significance and satiric overtones.” In the late seventies, Kent stopped making the prints and turned to carving wood sculptures as masterful and astonishing as any of his prints. The artist, who worked out of a barn studio in Durham, Connecticut, died in 2012.
“The prints are the strength of this exhibit, “says Silvermine Gallery Director Jeffrey Mueller. “They have gravity and humor, and his materials are interesting–almost inappropriate fabrics paired with poignant subject matter. His choice of imagery and phrasing is timeless and has the power to resonate even today.” A selection of Kent’s work, curated by Mueller and James Reed, manager of Silvermine’s Gabor Peterdi International Print Collection.