Join us for the opening of A Retrospective Exhibit: 100 Years of the Art of Keyes and Cox on Wednesday, February 6 from 5-7pm. Emeriti Professors Dave Keyes and Dennis Cox will be exhibiting a lifetime worth of works in PLU’s University Gallery.
Entering the University in 1969 and 1972 and starting phased retirement in 2006, Keyes and Cox have taught in the University for a cumulative of 71 years. The collective 100 years represents each artist/teacher with more than 50 years of devotion to the visual arts, which began in high school, intensified in undergraduate work, became truly refined in graduate school, with MFA’s in studio art and continued for 30+ years of exhibiting and teaching.
Dennis Cox’s career has involved drawing, printmaking and watercolor; his work focuses on the human figure, people and the human condition with a foundation in drawing, and more specifically, life drawing.
“Liken [Life Drawing] to a musician practicing scales or [a mechanic] tuning a car; it sharpens your mind and life – it’s a huge part of my life and teaching,” Cox says.
David Keyes’ work consists of ceramic sculpture and vessels, cast and fabricated bronze/mixed media techno-archaic sculptures. Many sculptures are based on antique tools and scientific equipment, which are both purposeful and aesthetic.
“I’ve been a collector my whole life, and my collections have a huge influence on what I do,” Keyes says. “If I were a writer, I’d have a large vocabulary. [My collection] is my vocabulary of shapes and images.”
Keyes collects everything from folk art to Victorian architecture.
“I like odd ball animals, warthogs, rhinos, things that probably should have died out long ago but fortunately haven’t. I like the human face; I like hands. But I would say most of my ideas come from collections and things I read about,” Keyes says.
The two artists vary when asked about their favorite works. Dave Keyes can tell stories about many (ask him about the Pig Stimulator) including a series spawned off of his young son’s three-piece suit.
“When my son was in the 3rd/4th grade, it was back to school time, so we went to get him some clothes. I took him down to Sears trying to get him some plaid shirts and some jeans. And he’s saying ‘No, I don’t want those – I want a suit.’ I said ‘What are you talking about?’ He goes ‘I want one of those suits with a little vest’. So we got him this little blue, polyester, three-piece suit with a little vest. He would put on this suit and ride off on his little bicycle to school. One day we walked into the store and these little girls his age came out and they all, in unison, said ‘Hi Suit Man’ – that whole thing cracked me up so much it sparked a whole line of sculptures,“ tells Keyes laughing.
As for Cox, he’ll give you a more intrinsic answer.
“I don’t think I could begin to pick a favorite piece out of my works – as like Robert Henri, I am a believer in the fact that the show exists for others; my time with it was the creation, seeing the idea realized – after that we move on,” Cox says. “It’s now your time to be in that moment, viewing it.”
This exhibition runs February 6 – March 6. For directions to the University Gallery, located in Ingram Hall, visit here. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday 8am-4pm, or by appointment.