Jason Scuilla is the 2017 Friends of the Beach Museum of Art Gift Print Artist. Each year museum supporters commission a printmaker or photographer to produce a limited edition print for sale to the public. The program, which began in 1934, recognizes outstanding contemporary artists associated with Kansas. Since the mid-1990s an exhibition of the artist’s work has been presented in conjunction with the release of the gift print edition.
Scuilla lives in Manhattan, Kansas, where he serves as associate professor and head of the printmaking program in the Department of Art at Kansas State University. An American artist of Italian descent, he has been drawn to his ancestors’ country and traveled there frequently to study and create prints. Monumental fragments of Italian sculpture inspire his recent work in this medium. Dramatic compositions rendered with a pictorial economy and a deadpan sense of humor raise questions about humankind’s relationship with mortality and the ancient past.
“Though much of my work tends to be black-and-white in medium, the content sits in that mysterious gray area that makes life and humanity so complex, magical, and interesting,” Scuilla said. “In my life and in my prints, I try to find that delicate balance between disciplined intensity, seriousness, absurdity, and humor. If I find myself laughing while I’m working, that usually means the print is on its way.”
Scuilla’s detailed prints are hand-drawn and etched with an innovative nontoxic etching process that makes use of electrical current. The process has been developed and rigorously tested by the artist in collaboration with K-State chemist Stefan Bossmann. Scuilla’s contributions to the field and mastery of this process have been recognized internationally in the scientific and print communities. He has lectured and demonstrated on the technique at universities, art centers, print shops, and conferences around the world.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website