NYS Museum exhibit carves the land

After sharing exhibits, nation- and worldwide, with other artists, printmaker Frank C. Eckmair will be the sole exhibitor in The Landscape of Memory exhibit at the New York State Museum. The show, which features more than 80 of Eckmair's prints, will open Friday, Nov. 19, in the West Gallery.

"It's a great honor for me," said Eckmair from his home in Gilbertsville, two hours west of Albany.

The 80-year-old has lived most of his life in central New York. He spent his early years drawing and working at his father's hotel in Gilbertsville. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of Iowa, and after teaching public school, served in the Air Force in Korea, Japan, and the northwestern U.S. Eckmair then received a Master of Fine Arts in printmaking from Ohio University. From 1963 to 1995 he was a teacher at Buffalo State College, where he influenced a generation of artists.

Eckmair makes his prints by first carving scenes into wood and then inking the engravings, which are then transferred to paper.

"The exhibition gives visitors a rare opportunity to see an important collection of art by one of nation's most accomplished printmakers," said Mark Schaming, the museum's director of exhibitions and programs. "This is the largest collection of his work in any museum and the first exhibition of its kind. The woodcuts, mostly landscapes, are masterful, and it's fascinating to see over 50 years of art that Eckmair continues to make about this beautiful and unique part of the state."

Schaming said the museum's curatorial and exhibition team worked with Eckmair over the last few years to archive his life work, document the way he makes the prints and more recently, develop the exhibition. The result, said Schaming, is an exhibit that "tracks [Eckmair's] career as an artist and lifelong resident of Gilbertsville, New York."

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