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Item Name: Print
Title: Untitled
Maker: Roy Deforest
Year: 1984
Country: Canadian
Materials: lithograph
Measurements: in frame: 65.5 cm x 84.6 cm; work: 56 cm x 76 cm
ID Number: PC2017.20
Legal Status: PERMANENT COLLECTION


Extended Label Info: This lithographic print by Roy Deforest exemplifies his vibrant, collaged style of drawing. Brick men, devils, ships, hermits, horses, and dogs fill his work in a whimsical stream of conscious style. He often includes references from art history to pop culture, combining the grand mythology of the American West with personal introspection. Images of mountains, water, windows, boats, and planes serve as visual metaphors for the journey of self-discovery. In the mid-twentieth century, Deforest was developmental in the Bay area Funk movement and developed the term “Nut Art” in conversation with poet and critic David Zack. “Nut Art” did not have a particular defining aesthetic but celebrated the “mad genius in all of us”; it embraced humour, and personalized fantasy worlds. Fellow “nuts” included Robert Arneson, Clayton Bailey, Richard Shaw, David Gilhooly, David Zack and Maja Peeples-Bright. There is a direct Saskatchewan connection to Nut Art and California Funk: in the late 60s Regina artist Vic Cicansky studied at UC Davis. In 1969 - 71, at Cicansky’s suggestion, Gilhooley, Zack and Peeples-Bright came to Regina to teach, and they inspired local artist David Thauberger to study in California. These influences culminated in the Regina Clay movement. Roy Deforest (1930 – 2007) was an American painter, sculpture, and teacher working in the Abstract Impressionist, Funk art, and Nut art movements in the Bay Area of California. Born in North Platte, Nebraska, the son of migrant farm workers, Deforest grew up in Yakima, Washington. In 1950, he moved to San Francisco study at the California School of Fine Art with painters Elmer Bischoff, Edward Corbett, David Park and Hassel Smith. He earned his BA in 1953 and earned his MFA at San Francisco State University in 1956. Deforest and his colleagues Robert Morris, Sonia Gechtoff, and Deborah Remington formed the core of the artist-run spaces in San Francisco during the 1950s: Ubu Gallery, the Six, Spasta and Batman Galleries. 1958, Deforest moved back to Washington to teach at Yakima Junior College. There he experimented with sculpture, mixed media and acrylics, narrative and figurative painting. In 1965 he returned to the University of California in Davis, to teach. Deforest retired from teaching in 1992 but continued making artwork until his death in 2007. Deforest has been the subject of two major retrospectives, and his artwork is held in numerous international collections, including the Smithsonian, and le Centre Georges Pompidou, in Paris.