Artist-in-Residence Randy Bolton
Randy Bolton’s work is characterized by an exploration of images that seem familiar and comforting on first glance, but become strange and disturbing on further consideration. His prints borrow from and adapt the nostalgia-evolving illustrations of early children’s books and science texts. In their original contexts these pictures served as visual tools to help educate young minds about acceptable morals and beliefs. In his work, however, Bolton has reclaimed these illustrations with a more subversive intent. By digitally altering and recombining fragments of these old illustrations, new meanings are suggested in which an undercurrent of uncertainty or apprehension undermines the initial flash of familiarity and comfort. Images originally intended to reflect childhood security and innocence become ironic metaphors of a chaotic world that is threatened by forces beyond our true comprehension and control. Bolton’s work is about the power these illustrations have in shaping our view of the world as children, followed by the disillusionment that occurs when these images fail us as adults. Despite the seemingly amusing quality of the images he employs, there is an element of concern in Bolton’s work and a vague feeling that the valuable things in life are in jeopardy.
Born in Dallas, TX in 1956, Randy Bolton received a BFA from the University of North Texas in 1978 and a MFA from the Ohio State University in 1982. Bolton has taught in many visiting artist positions across the country, including four years at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. From 1989-2002, Bolton was Professor of Art and Printmaking Area Coordinator at the University of Delaware. In 2002, Bolton was appointed Head of the Print Media Department and Artist in Residence at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. Bolton’s work has been widely exhibited in one-person, invitational and juried shows since 1982. Recent one-person exhibitions include “Twice-Told Tales” at the Cranbrook Art Museum in Michigan; “Two Sides to Every Story” at Littlejohn Contemporary in New York; "Books of Nonsense" at Evergreen House in Baltimore, MD; "Things Are Rarely What They Seem" and “Chase, Tumble, Slide” at Schmidt/Dean Gallery in Philadelphia. Recent group exhibitions include “The Altered Landscape” at Hines Lobby Gallery in NYC, “Three Americans” at the Glasgow Print Studio in Scotland, “Illustration Bitter & Sweet” at Ruffin Gallery in Charlottesville, VA, “Trouble in Paradise: Examining Discord Between Nature and Society” at the Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ; “Tales From an Imaginary Menagerie”, Palo Alto Art Center, Palo Alto, CA; “Inner Child: Good and Evil in the Garden of Memories” at the Hunterdon Museum of Art in Clinton, NJ; “I’d Rather Be Drawing” at the Dennis Morgan Gallery in Kansas City, MO; "New Prints 2004/Spring" at the International Print Center in NYC; "Popular, Pop & Post-Pop: Color Screenprints, 1930s to Now" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; "Look Out" at Revolution Gallery in Ferndale, MI; “Digital: Printmaking Now” at the Brooklyn Museum of Art; "Sculptural Prints" and “Digital Press: Artists Exploring New Technologies” at the Print Center in Philadelphia and “Sight/Insight” at the New York Public Library. Bolton has completed artist residencies at the Frans Masereel Center in Kasterlee, Belgium, the Evergreen House in Baltimore, the MacDowell Art Colony in New Hampshire, Yaddo in New York and the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France. Bolton’s prints are in many corporate and museum collections including the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts - Boston, the Art Institute of Chicago and the New York Public Library. Bolton received a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship in 2000, an Art Matters Fellowship (NYC) in 1996 and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1989.
Your Future, 2012. Digital prints on canvas, wood, cast plaster objects, paint, light bulbs. Approx. 9 ft. (h) x 8 ft (w) x 8 ft. (d).
Your Satisfaction, 2012. Digital prints on canvas and vinyl, cast plaster objects, paint, foam, steel. Approx. 9 ft (h) x 12 ft. (w) x 2 ft. (d).
- “Scene Better Daze”, Gallery 2, Washington State University, Pullman, WA
- “Nothing More; Nothing Less”, Mollie Dodd Anderson Library, George School, Newtown, PA
- “Wit, Wisdumb & Worry”, Ann Arbor Art Center, Ann Arbor, MI
- “Once Upon a Time: Prints and Drawings That Tell Stories”, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI
- “Encountering Nature”, Center for the Arts Gallery, Towson University, Towson, MD
- “Nowhere Backwards”, Des Lee Gallery, St. Louis, MO
- “The Cat, the Dish, and the Spoon”, Wonder Fair, Lawrence, KS
- “2010 IFPDA Print Fair, ”Stewart & Stewart, The Park Avenue Armory, New York, NY (November 3 – November 7, 2010).
- “New Fables For Our Time: Randy Bolton & Margaret Meehan,” Texas State University Art Gallery, San Marcos, TX (September 27 – October 21, 2010).
- “TheNow: Contemporary Prints/Historical Perspectives,” Katherine E. Nash Gallery, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN (October 12 – November 14, 2010).
- “A Survey of Contemporary Printmaking,” Gray Gallery, School of Art and Design, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC (September 7– October 2, 2010).
- “Yes, We, Can,” Schmidt Dean Gallery, Philadelphia, PA (March 19 – April 24, 2010).
- “Three American Artists: Randy Bolton, Michael Krueger & John Schulz,” Glasgow Print Studio, Glasgow, Scotland (January 8 – February 27, 2010).
- “The Altered Landscape,” Lobby Gallery at Hines, New York, NY (November 10 – February 12, 2010).
- “Illustration Bitter and Sweet,” Ruffin Gallery, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA (October 30 – December 6, 2010).
- “Truth, Beauty & Other Prints,” Kamer 108 Gallery, Academy of Visual Arts, Gent, Belgium (May 17-June 3, 2010).
- Tate Foley. “Nowhere Backwards: Tom Reed, Michael Kreuger, and Randy Bolton at Des Lee Gallery” Printeresting, December 15, 2012.
- Jessica Baran. “In the Galleries – Nowhere Backwards Closes November 17 at Des Lee”, October 18, 2012.
- Andrew Mangravite. “Randy Bolton’s New Prints at Schmidt Dean.” Broad Street Review, July 21, 2010.
- Allan Radcliffe. “Three American Artists: Randy Bolton, Michael Krueger & John Schulz." The List, (), January 8, 2010.
- Tiernan Alexander, "Print, Clay and Sculpture Shine at Bahdeebahdu and Schmidt Dean”, The Artblog, April 10, 2010.
- Laura Parsons, “Picture Book Pathos: Artists Deliver Bitter Pill”, The Hook, November 22, 2009.
- S. Elizabeth Grabowski and William Fick (editors), Printmaking: A Complete Guide to Materials & Processes, pp. 36, 50-51, London, UK: Lawrence King Publishers, 2009.
- Sutlief, Shannon. “Fairly Dark Tales.” Dallas Observer, May 14, 2005.
- Green, Roger. “Banners Provide Differing Views of Life.” Mlive.com, January 4, 2005.
- Sousanis, Nick. “Randy Bolton, Twice-Told Tales.” The Detroiter, February 3, 2005.
- Walker, Barry. "New Prints Program: New Prints 2004/Spring Essay" (exhibition essay). New York: International Print Center New York, May 6 - June 12, 2004.
- Fallon, Roberta. “When It’s Public It’s Got to Be Big.” ArtBlog, December 28, 2004.
- Hagan, Susan. “Creatures From Another Dimension: Two Shows Make Prints Pop.” Philadelphia City Paper, October 16 -23, 2003.
- Fallon, Roberta. “Popular, Pop and Post-Pop.” Philadelphia Weekly, November 25, 2003.
- Hagan, Susan. “Good Neighbors.” Philadelphia City Paper, February 8-15, 2001.
- Sozanski, Edward J. “In The Pink – and Red.” The Philadelphia Inquirer, February 16, 2001.
- West, Judy. “Randy Bolton: Chase Tumble, Slide.” CitySearch, March 2000.
- Fallon, Roberta. “Rated PG-13: Randy Bolton’s Spooky Take on Children’s Literature Isn’t Exactly Kiddie Stuff.” Philadelphia Weekly, March 22, 2000.
- Korotkin, Joyce B. “Randy C. Bolton @ Littlejohn Contemporary.” NY Arts International Edition 5, no. 4 (April 2000).
- Hirsch, Faye. “Working Proof: Review of Prints, Photographs and Multiples.” Art On Paper 4, no. 5 (May-June 2000): 71.
- Fallon, Roberta. “Living in the One-Dimensional.” Philadelphia Weekly, September 29, 1999.
- Sozanski, Edward J. “Art, Galleries: Digital Printing That Measures Up as Art.” The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 1, 1999.
- Sozanski, Edward J. “Art, Galleries: Inkjet Puzzles.” The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 20, 1998.
- Brody, Jacqueline. “Prints and Photographs Published.” The Print Collector’s Newsletter XXVII, no. 1 (1996).
- Fortunato, Monique. “Artistic Social Commentary: New Exhibits at CEPA.” The Spectrum (Buffalo, NY), February 5, 1996.
- Tallman, Susan. The Contemporary Print from Pre-Pop to Postmodern. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1996.
- Waddell, Roberta. Scene at a Place and Time: The 69th Annual Print Competition (exhibition catalog). Philadelphia: The Print Club, December 10, 1994-January 21, 1995.
- Larson, Carol. “Randy Bolton: Interview.” Contemporary Impressions: The Journal of the American Print Alliance 2, no.1 (Spring 1994):8-10.
- Mangravite, Andrew. “Not to be Missed: Art; The Print Club’s 69th Annual Competition.” Philadelphia Welcomat, December 21, 1994.
- Cope, Penelope. “Unsettling Images.” Delaware Today (March 1993): 12-13.
- Mangravite, Andrew. “Galleries; One Artist A Leapin’.” Philadelphia Welcomat, December 29, 1993.
- Cunningham, Eldon L., ed. Printmaking: A Primary Form of Expression. Niwot, CO: University Press of Colorado, 1992.
- Rice, Robin. “From Nostalgia to Disgust.” Philadelphia City Paper, January 2, 1992.
Quiet & Quieter, 2012. Screenprinted images on wood, cast plaster and wax objects, paint. Approx. 4 ft. (h) x 6 ft. (w) x 2 ft. (d).
All the Days (Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow), 2012. Screenprinted images on sintra, wood, cast plaster objects, paint. Approx. 8 ft. (w) x 3 ft. (h) x 2.5 ft. (d).
Nothing More, Nothing Less, 2011, 2-panel digital banner print on canvas with sculptural objects (foam, ink, paint, sand), approx. 8 ft. (H) x 16 ft. (W) x 6 ft. (D).
Installation view of Nowhere Backwards exhibition at Des Lee Gallery, St. Louis, MO, 2012. Two-sided digital banners on canvas with sculptural objects (wood, paint, screenprinting ink)
Yes We Can, 2009
3-panel screenprint on paper, 30” x 22” (each panel)
digital print banner on canvas with 3-D object (wood, paint, screenprinting ink), 8 ft. high x 7 ft. wide
Our Town, 2009,
digital print banner on canvas, 8.5 ft. high x 7 ft. wide
Yes, Maybe, No, 2009
screenprint, 22” x 30”
No Work, No Play, 2010
2-panel screenprint, 22” x 30” (each panel)
Only One More Left, 2010
screenprint, 22” x 30”