Bork 'Shapes' Up for Solo Exhibition

Dustyn Bork during a 2018 Vermont Studio Residency, featuring two works in his solo exhibition  Complex Shapes and Empty Space.  The exhibition is at the Arts & Science Center though Saturday, April 13. Photo by H Romero, courtesy of Dustyn Bork.

Dustyn Bork during a 2018 Vermont Studio Residency, featuring two works in his solo exhibition Complex Shapes and Empty Space. The exhibition is at the Arts & Science Center though Saturday, April 13. Photo by H Romero, courtesy of Dustyn Bork.

Lyon College Professor Explores Architectural Structures, Color in ASC Show

By Shannon Frazeur

Printmaker, painter, and professor Dustyn Bork brings his colorful, abstract and geometric work to the Arts & Science Center with a solo exhibition Dustyn Bork: Complex Shapes and Empty Space.

The exhibition is now open, and ASC is hosting a free, public recept­ion 5-7 p.m. Thursday, January 24.

The 21 pieces in the exhibition — acrylic on shaped panels and framed seriographs — are inspired by architectural forms.

“The theme for the exhibition is formally about shape and color,” Born explained. “Conceptually, the work is all inspired by the built environment. I am interested in how architecture shapes our daily experience.”

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The title of the show comes from a line in a book on Japanese aesthetics called In Praise of Shadows by Jun'Ichiro Tanizaki. “It is a brief but beautifully written first-hand account on what makes Japanese architecture unique based on space, lighting, and an appreciation for age.”

“I am interested in the contrast between old and new structures. I want viewers of my work to make connections between the textures, colors, shapes, and lines in my work with the world around them.”

The exhibition is an excellent fit for not only ASC’s gallery space but for Pine Bluff.

“The dimensionality and vibrant colors of Dustyn Bork’s bold shapes catapult off the gallery walls and one cannot help but smile when entering the space,” ASC Curator Dr. Lenore Shoults said. “Bork’s exploration of the constructed environment, upon which this series is built, and Pine Bluff’s current moment of architectural decay and renewal is particularly poignant. Again, art guides us and, during this exhibition for sure, keeps us joyful and optimistic about the outcome.”

Bork explored the structures and design aesthetics of the 1970s for his solo exhibition at the East Arkansas Community College Gallery last fall. Split Level included a series of paintings in which traditional rectangle compositions were cut into shaped panels to more accurately reflect architectural forms in split-level. 

For another 2018 exhibition, Bork teamed up with his wife, artist Carly Dahl, for Going Unnoticed at the Historical Arkansas Museum in Little Rock.

“She is one of the most talented, smart, and creative people I have ever known,” Bork said. “She is always making things; if not art, then textile weaving, knitting, or crafts. She has a great eye and lends her critical attention to work in the studio — a big help.”

“We have been together for 10 years and enjoy traveling, attending art exhibitions.”

He is originally from Monroe, Mich., about an hour south of Detroit and part of the heavily automotive-centered region. (Monroe is also home to a nuclear plant and a large equestrian monument dedicated to former resident Gen. George Custer.)

Bork taught for seven years in Ohio at the University of Toledo: Center for the Visual Arts before moving to Arkansas in 2010. He is an associate professor of art at Lyon College, a small private liberal arts college in Batesville.

“I have since received tenure and have really enjoyed the academic and artist community here. It is a great gig, a beautiful place to live in the foothills of the Ozarks, talented students to work with, and a wonderful community to live, work, and play in.

“Lyon is amazing place to teach. The students are great, and I enjoy the impact I can have in a nurturing environment working with small class sizes. It is a great campus.”

Bork has even called the Lyon campus home the last few years. “Carly and I live on campus and serve as resident mentors. It has been an amazing and rewarding experience working with all of the students and watching them grow.”

The couple is a fixture in Batesville’s art community. He serves on the board of the Ozark Foothills FilmFest and volunteers for the Batesville Area Arts Council, where Dahl is executive director.

Dustyn Bork and his Lyon College mural class students with one of the murals they created in Batesville. Bork and North Carolina- based artist Grace Engel designed the mural, and the students painted it. Photo by Carly Dahl, courtesy of Dustyn Bork.

Dustyn Bork and his Lyon College mural class students with one of the murals they created in Batesville. Bork and North Carolina- based artist Grace Engel designed the mural, and the students painted it. Photo by Carly Dahl, courtesy of Dustyn Bork.

Last fall, Bork and six students — along with artists Steve Adair of Rogers and Grace Engel of Asheville, N.C. — designed and executed four murals in Batesville.

The students created one mural — from concept to paint — completely on their own. Protect explores the local emergency services and was commissioned by the Independence County Judge. 

Greetings from Batesville — created for Main Street Batesville — is in the style of a retro postcard. Each letter includes landmark buildings in the city.

“It was a great experiential learning opportunity for students on show to work with stakeholders, think through the design process, and learn a few different mural techniques,” Bork said. “It's been awesome to see the community response — a lot of selfies and sharing on social media. It's awesome to see your impact in the community. Batesville is experiencing a bit of a Renaissance downtown and it’s been awesome to play a small part in that.”

More information about Bork can be found at his website, dustynbork.com. He can also be followed on Instagram.

Bork will be back at ASC for the next Second Saturday Family FunDay on February 9, to demonstrate screen printing and to help visitors screen print a T-shirt they can take home.

Dustyn Bork: Complex Shapes and Empty Space is on display in ASC’s William H. Kennedy Jr. Gallery through Saturday, April 13, 2019. Simmons Bank and the Arkansas Arts Council are the exhibition’s sponsors.


MORE ABOUT DUSTYN BORK

  • Bork earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in printmaking in 2002 from Indiana University in Bloomington and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in printmaking in 1999 from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

  • His work has been included in a number of juried exhibitions, including the 2016 Annual Delta Exhibition at the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock, the Delta National Small Prints Exhibition at the Bradbury Art Museum in Jonesboro, and the Print Exhibition at the Hunterdon Museum of Art, Clinton, N.J. He has also had more than 20 solo and two-person exhibitions with Dahl.

  • In 2016, Bork won one of three Arkansas Arts Council individual fellowships in Visual Arts painting, the largest individual artist fellowship the council awards.

  • Bork has taken his talents internationally, with an artist residency at the Franz Masereel Centre in Kasterlee, Belgium, and the Martignano International Residency for Artists in Martignano, Italy. He was also part of a juried exhibition at the International Printmaking Biennial of Douro Alijó, Portugal.

  • Bork has two sons. Eddie is also an artist, working in graphic design, printmaking, and new media. He graduated from Lyon College with a degree in art. Aiden, his youngest son, is a high school senior and interested in counseling. He too plans to attend Lyon next year.

  • Bork’s work can also be seen at Justus Fine Art Gallery in downtown Hot Springs.

  • Bork and Dahl both contributed works to ASC’s 2018 Potpourri art exhibition.

  • Music is another one of Bork’s loves. “I recently started DJing for KILT, the Lyon College radio station, and I'm hooked.”


Artist Statement for Complex Shapes and Empty Space

shaped no. 10  by Dustyn Bork, acrylic on shaped panel

shaped no. 10 by Dustyn Bork, acrylic on shaped panel

“Certainly, some architectural forms are favored over others, a hierarchy exists for preserving and restoring styles of architecture based on their historical or cultural significance. I am interested in the contrast between old and new structures. It is a curious fate for the life of a building. Some go through many visual iterations and renovations while others will not stand the test of time. I want viewers to make connections between the colors, lines, textures, and forms in my artwork and those to be found in their daily interactions with the constructed environment.

“Certain architectural forms find their way in my work. My paintings and prints focus on the built landscape from my observable surroundings. I have experimented with abstracting forms and structures lifting them from their original context. The current series of paintings are reminiscent of building facades and remove the compositions from the more traditional rectangle and are cut into shaped pieces to more accurately reflect forms pulled from various sources. I want the works to take on an object-oriented feel. Will the new designs and forms constructed today soon collapse, be replaced, or last a lifetime? Each composition is meant to represent the beauty implicit in everyday surfaces and structures in various levels of decay and renewal.” — Dustyn Bork

Juried Exhibition Showcases Pine Bluff Art League Members

The 2018 Pine Bluff Art League Juried Exhibition opens in the Simmons Gallery of the Arts & Science Center on Thursday, Sept. 13, with a reception from 5-7 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public. Prizes will be awarded at 5:30 p.m. Twenty-five works by 15 Pine Bluff Art League comprise the show.

The 2018 Pine Bluff Art League Juried Exhibition opens in the Simmons Gallery of the Arts & Science Center on Thursday, Sept. 13, with a reception from 5-7 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public. Prizes will be awarded at 5:30 p.m. Twenty-five works by 15 Pine Bluff Art League comprise the show.

By Shannon Frazeur

The Pine Bluff Art League (PBAL) and the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas (ASC) team up each year to showcase the best of the area’s talent with the Pine Bluff Art League Annual Juried Exhibition.

The 2018 show opens in the Simmons Gallery of the Arts & Science Center on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, with a reception from 5-7 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public. Prizes will be awarded at 5:30 p.m. for Best in Show; First, Second, and Third Place; and Honorable Mention.

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Twenty-five works in painting, photography, and mixed media by 15 PBAL members comprise the show. The artists with works chosen for the exhibition are: Melissa Abernathy, Jimmy Burton, Vickie Coleman, Richard Davies, Gerry DeLongchamp, Linda DeMint, Patrick Edwards, Dell Gorman, Rhonda Holderfield, Jenny Holley, Crystal Jennings, Glenda Mullikin, Inis Ray, Elizabeth Sadler, and Claudia Spainhour.

“It is the most beautiful Pine Bluff Art League Show I’ve ever seen,” ASC Curator Dr. Lenore Shoults said. “The work is just fabulous. It’s going to be a stunning exhibition.”

Melissa Abernathy is the 2018 PBAL Exhibition chair.

Each year, ASC selects an outside juror to choose the pieces for the exhibition and the prize placement. Painter John Kushmaul had the honors for the 2018 exhibition, and was charged with selecting 25 works from the 67 entered.

“I am very impressed with the quality of the work, and appreciate the opportunity to participate as the juror for the show,” Kushmaul said. This was his first time to serve as an exhibition juror, he said.

“I’d encourage everyone who entered a piece to keep producing art. There were numerous tough calls as I narrowed down the field to 25,” he said.

Kushmaul lives in Little Rock but is a former White Hall resident. He lived in the Jefferson County city from 1983 to 1990, and from 1995 to 2004, he said.

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His subjects are often city scenes with varied architecture — many of them recognizable buildings and sites from Little Rock and Jefferson County. “There have been several pictures based on Pine Bluff scenes in the mix from the beginning.”

Kushmaul will be at the reception to speak and award the prizes.

The Pine Bluff Art League — currently at 39 members — meets the first Sunday of the month and conducts workshops for its members, PBAL President Vickie Coleman said. She led the most recent workshop, which was on acrylic pouring. They also host guest artists from outside the area to teach.

PBAL members also teach at the Shepherd Center at Lakeside United Methodist Church, with fall classes beginning Sept. 12.

The PBAL artists extend their talents and reach out to help children in the community. One of their projects is an annual art exhibition for middle-school students called “Top of the Middle,” of which Coleman said she is very proud. All children in Jefferson County can enter, and teachers may submit 10 works from each school, Coleman explained. PBAL then hosts a reception at the Donald W. Reynolds Community Services Center to recognize each student and award prizes.

“The children get really excited and they do wonderful work,” Coleman said. “We are always pleasantly surprised. The art exhibition is a way of encouraging them to continue to do art.”

One of the paintings by a Pine Bluff Art League artist for the art therapy bags prepared for foster children in Jefferson County.

One of the paintings by a Pine Bluff Art League artist for the art therapy bags prepared for foster children in Jefferson County.

The art league began another project his year. “We give an art backpack to every child who is new to the foster care system in Jefferson County,” Coleman explained. “We call it an art appreciation bag. It is full of art supplies and the ladies have painted small pictures, and there is a letter in there saying that is is done especially for them. And we put a book in there. The children have been appreciative of these.”

The present-day version of the Pine Bluff Art League was established in 1994, Coleman said. Previously, the organization was known as the Brush and Pallet Guild.

Those interesting in learning more about the Pine Bluff Art League are encouraged to call Coleman at 870-879-3825.

“We’d love to have more members,” Coleman said.

The Pine Bluff Art League Juried Exhibition exhibition will be on display through Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018.