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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

BV artist hopes to 'make a difference'

Thursday, October 24, 2002

The Buena Vista University Art Gallery presents a gallery exhibit by Randy Becker through November 18

The community is encouraged to visit the show. A reception will be held Wednesday, October 23, between 3 and 4:30 p.m.

Storm Laker Becker combines digital and traditional print methods to produce narrative works. His hope is that his work will speak to all kinds of visitors, not just elitist art aficionados.

"I would like to see art make a difference in people's lives again," said Becker. "I don't know if my work will ever make a difference, but I hope it has something to do with being human."

Becker spoke about the fascination for art in a set of Statement Narratives to accompany the show.

"I've been captivated by narrative art ever since my graduate school art history professor first exposed me to the work of Northern Renaissance painters. Their manner of depicting the element of time fascinated me. Simultaneous narrative, a method of visual storytelling in which several events that occurred at different times take place within a continuous environment, was an inventive innovation for visually telling Biblical stories. I find this form of narrative visually stimulating because it not only links time with space, but it also weaves complex relationships within the design.

"As a printmaker, I have also been a bit obsessed with process. However, I find prints that are more about process than they are about content to be shallow and boring. Therefore, I try not to allow the process to overshadow the message. Conveying their message is important to me. And if the message does not come through, the work is a failure. I also like the tools with which I work-the way they feel in my hand, cutting into the wood, scratching the metal. For a long time, I avoided using the computer because I thought it was a poor substitute for the tools of the printmaker.

"In reality, I was intimidated by the technology. Upon this realization, I decided to overcome the fear of the unfamiliar. The computer is seductive, but once I learned that it is only a tool, and that what comes out of the printer does not have to be the end of the piece, I felt liberated enough to use the traditional means of printmaking along with the more recent technology. I am still discovering what can be done.

"I like the idea of printmaking, too, because it has democratic roots. Originally, the medium provided common people with prayer books, modest counterparts to those brilliantly illuminated manuscripts made for the wealthy nobility. I hope my work speaks to people in somewhat the same way. And that's why I work in narrative forms, whether simultaneous methods, or episodic, or symbolic. Its a way of relating to the common person. So much art these days is deliberately ambiguous, pompous, and targeted at an elitist audience altogether. It seems to be more about networking at cocktail parties than about making a difference I would like to see art make a difference in people's lives again. I don't know if my work will ever make a difference, but I hope it has something to do with being human.

Randy Becker is Associate Professor of Graphic Design at BVU. The BVU Art Gallery is located in the Information Technology Center on BVU's Storm Lake campus and is opened to the public.