Lines and Colors art blog

James Skvarch
I really enjoy etchings. Etching a subtle art that seldom receives the attention it deserves in this day of jaded, color drenched and video saturated vision. Etchings seem quiet, but within their subtlety they can be as dramatic as a painting, and there is something about the quality of etched lines that is unlike any other medium. (See my post on Whistler’s etchings, which includes a brief description of the process.)

I’m particularly pleased, then, when I find contemporary artists who are working in the grand tradition of classical etching. James Skvarch is an artist who trained at the Maryland Art Institute, the Rochester Institute of Technology and the International Academy for Art in Salzburg, Austria, and is now living in New York State.

Although he also does very nice paintings, Skvarch’s primary medium is etching. Within that, he covers a fascinating range of topics. Most striking are his “Caprices“, architectural inventions and fantasies inspired by Piranesi (see my post on Piranesi), and depicting fantastic, grand scale structures and landscapes from other times.

These are not only a treat in terms of visual fantasy, but often have a subtle sense of humor as well. In the image at top, and the detail, center, note both the “canal to nowhere”, showing ships sailing atop the great arches hundreds of feet above the waves, and the delightfully silly “train to nowhere”, working its way up the helical ramp of the nonsensical structure to the right. All of this, of course, is being viewed through a spyglass by a well-heeled 1920’s tourist couple, accompanied by their two dogs.

More fantastic inventions can be found among his section of “Ships and Trains“. His Landscapes, by contrast, are straightforward and beautifully rendered depictions of farms and rural houses.

In between his fantastic and realist sensibilities are his Interiors, which are primarily representational, but carry an enigmatic sense of light, and are at times slightly distorted as if viewed through a wide angle lens. There is also an interesting set of etchings depicting old Cars.

Many of the works in the main galleries are etchings for which there are still impressions available for sale. The two Archives of small prints, (landscapes and interiors) and large prints (Caprices), show etchings for which the run has sold out, but contain some wonderful images.

Link via BibliOdyssey


4 responses to “James Skvarch”

  1. I like black and white also. Very biutifull work of art. I love the details.

  2. Etching is a long lost love of mine. There is no black as deep and rich as an intaglio black.

  3. Peter Christiana Avatar
    Peter Christiana

    So James, is your father Bill Skvarch, and your mother , is she Barbara? If so, please respond. Thank you.

  4. Dear Peter,
    Sorry I just saw your question as I never google myself, but did today for some reason.
    Yes, my father is Bill and my mother’s name was Barbara. She just passed away two weeks ago. Why? Did you know them?