Inventory for J. Jay McVicker (1911-2004)
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J. Jay McVicker, a quiet and somewhat reclusive Oklahoma artist, was a student and later colleague of Doel Reed's at Oklahoma State University (beginning circa 1939). Although his work was widely exhibited, and is represented in many institutional collections, he generally garnered little attention until the final years of his life. Following his death in 2004 there has been a great deal of interest in this artist and his work. McVicker's first prints were realistic in nature, however by about circa 1950 to 1952 the artist had switched to a more abstract and more colorful form of aquatint that essentially dismissed all realism from his creative expression. Arc Welder (1943), originally shown in the well-known Artists for Victory exhibit during World War Two, is a particularly beautiful example of the aquatint process and evidences the ability to transition from pure white (Zone 10) to pure black (Zone 0), essentially utilizing Ansel Adams and Fred Archer's "Zone System" used in photography. Of the print, McVicker said: "Regarding my print Arc Welder, it was produced in the spring of 1943. What is now the Stillwater Municipal Airport was considerably enlarged at that time to accommodate basic flight instruction. Arc Welder represents one of the many episodes that occurred on a night shift of the construction project." In the prints presented above one can easily see the transition from realism to abstraction. For an instance of the transformation of styles and objective observe Oklahoma Twilight (1940), Arc Welder (1943) and Pintos by the River (1947).