The Art History Fall ’22 Curatorial Project presents “Carving Deep: J J Lankes’ American Story” on view November 14 – December 5 in Andrews Gallery. This exhibition has been curated by students in The Curatorial Project, under the direction of Professor Cristina Stancioiu. Participating students include: Madeline Dort, Olivia Gebreamlak, Daniel Kalish, Sandy Kelso, Isabella Kershner, Sophia Kim, Jessica Lightfoot, Lorelei Peterson, Faith Ronquest, Isabel Schreur, Lynn Trott, Sophie Vandevander, Anna Wershbale, Heidi Zmick.
Artist and author Julius John Lankes (American, 1884 -1960) produced his first woodcut print in 1917, carving and printing more than 1,300 designs over the course of his lifetime. Lankes was a leader in the craft of American woodcutting, as displayed by Lankes’ book, A Woodcut Manual (1932), the first complete text about woodcutting published in North America. Lankes is primarily known for these hundreds of detailed woodcut prints, as well as his friendships and working relationships with prominent contemporary authors, including Sherwood Anderson (American, 1876 – 1941) and Robert Frost (American, 1874 – 1963).
While living in Hampton Roads, Virginia Lankes published his book, Virginia Woodcuts (1930), which featured and sought to preserve the historic landscapes of Tidewater Virginia. Ultimately, J.J. Lankes’ career was an extremely fruitful one; he created hundreds of images which display America as he observed it and desired it to be.
Our interconnected world demands that every story is told with the inclusion of narratives of many. J.J. Lankes’ American story is no different. Considering the expansiveness of Lankes’ work and his narrative finesse, our exhibition explores the artist through his literary commissions, personal life, the mythologies that shaped his worldview, and the nature of the craft he chose.