Feature Articles

July 2013

Toe River Arts Council in Spruce Pine, NC, Offers Works by Rick and Val Beck

The Toe River Arts Council in Spruce Pine, NC, is presenting Shared Journey, featuring works in glass by Rick and Val Beck, on view in the TRAC Gallery, through Aug. 10, 2013.

It has been a long trip that has led to Spruce Pine. It began in Nebraska where the couple met while attending Hastings College. Rick was pursuing his Bachelors degree in Art with an emphasis in Glass, and Valerie was working on her degree in Human Services Administration and Political Science. It was there, in 1984, that Valerie began assisting Rick at the college’s glass studio. They moved east to Southern Illinois University where Rick received his Masters of Fine Arts degree in Glass and Valerie completed her Masters in Educational Psychology.

They led a workshop at the Golden Glass Studio in Cincinnati, OH, then made their way to Spruce Pine, via Tennessee’s Appalachian Center for Crafts and Penland School of Crafts residencies. There they built their own studio. Val and Rick decided to stay in the area after the residency because they like the area - Penland School, other craft studios, an entire community of artists and “because we didn’t want to have to move our equipment any farther than Spruce Pine.” They have worked collaboratively with the vases, and individually - Val with her murrini infused ornaments, and Rick with his often every-day object inspired sculptures.

Shared Journey will follow their work from the late 20th century to today. Rick Beck is known for his large-scale cast glass sculpture depicting industrial, common objects and the human figure; Val, for her often times playful, always intriguing patterns on blown glass vases. She says, “Our blown glass work consists mainly of vessels with imagery. The images are based on dreams, experiences, and other things that affect us. They range from the sublime to the ridiculous. I enjoy the physical presence of the work, its size, shape and color. These vessels both document our lives and provide beauty and pleasure.”

Rick’s glass creations are full of surprises. His “grounded in the ordinary” sculptures are abstractions in the formal and philosophical sense, yet inherently approachable. “My work in glass is a synthesis of human and mechanical form, with an emphasis on formal aspects. I am interested in playing the volumes of mass against the rhythm of the lines. I enjoy the interplay of the visual (visceral) versus the verbal (descriptive/technical). The work should challenge the eye and the mind.”

Rick and Val have lived in Spruce Pine for over 20 years. The invitation is out to take up the challenge of the eye and delight in the mastery of two glass artists along their ‘Shared Journey’.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the gallery at 828/682-7215 or visit (www.toeriverarts.org).

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