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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Glennray Tutor

Three Tops, 2009, Glennray Tutor. I've painted Ball jars before, but never anything to match these.
Jam, Glennray Tutor--a few of his favorite things.
It's hard to say if other artists feel this way, but when I see the work of another artist which is quite similar to my own, and better than my own, who also happens to be younger than myself, not to mention further up the recog-nition ladder than myself, bothers me. I suppose most artists would not admit to such a reaction, even if it were true. In any case, it's for those reasons that the work of Ox-ford, Mississippi, artist, Glenn-ray Tutor, bothers me. We're not exactly alike, of course. Tutor has limited himself, concentrating almost exclu-sively on "fool the eye" still-lifes since the 1980s (above, left). I've been doing similar work since the 1970s; but what's a decade or so one way or another? Of course I've been teaching and writing during my forty-five years as an artist, with a much broader range of subjects from portraits and genre to...well, just about everything else. Moreover, I really do admire every aspect of Tutor's work. It's just that there's a speck or two of jealousy inherent in my nature that causes me sigh in despair whenever I run across the work of such talented artists.

Solo 1, I Dreamed it All, Glennray Tutor
Heart-Shaped Box, Glennray Tutor
Not only has Tutor displayed the wisdom of concentrating on "fool the eye" still-lives, but his subject matter within that context can easily be listed as: marbles on comics, cheap toys, candy, unexploded fire-works, canning jars, hot sau-ces, and one or two other type items painted less often. That's not to say those things are all Tutor can paint, but it's pretty much all he does paint, so the difference is minimal. Natural-ly, the marbles casting their colorful shadows on black and white comics brings to mind the work of Roy Lichtenstein (minus the Ben-Day dots). Tutor's Solo 1, I dreamed it All (above) is typical of this type of work, the technical virtuosity and audacity of it all having gone a long way in elevating Tutor above the crowd of Photorealists from which he emerged. In his Heart-Shaped Box (above, left) Tutor exchanges marbles for gumballs and matches.

Phoenix, 2005, Glennray Tutor
Glennray Tutor with one of his comic-
marbles paintings.
In viewing Tutor's Phoenix (above) from 2005, one might be tempted to advise Tutor that, while gumballs are good, marbles are better...much prettier, though also much more dangers and difficult to chew. Glennray Tutor was born in 1950 (making him five years younger than I). He grew up in Kennett, Missouri. That's located in the little nodule of land which hangs down from a map of Missouri and borders the Mississippi River. However it was, in fact, in Mississippi, at Ole Miss, that Tutor garnered his BA and an MFA in painting, completing his schooling in 1976. His earliest work involved book illustration and landscapes of the desert Southwest. His photo (left) depicts the artist posing before one of his many "comic" paintings. This too bothers me...he's better lookin' than I am.

Pickup, Glennray Tutor
Sunglasses, 1990, Glennray Tutor
Back in the 1950s when Glenn and I were growing up, any-thing stamped "made in Japan" was considered cheap and worth-less (until Sony came along). Toys were especially noted for this designation. They were plastic, colorful, and mostly pre-war in styling much like those of Tutor's Pickup (above) incongruously served up on a glazed golden platter. Like myself, Tutor loves to paint that which is shiny and transparent. However, Tutor's Sunglasses (right) was the first of his paintings to catch my eye. It's not only Pop Art at its best but one of the best "fool the eye" still-lifes I've ever encountered.

Tabasco Pete and his Gang, 1996, Glennray Tutor
Judging buy Tutor's consistent use of Tabasco and various other hot sauces in his work, I would guess he might be personally fond of them. That's another instance when he and I differ. Any sauce much more powerful than ketchup is an anathema to my taste buds. Nonetheless, I love his Tabasco Pete and his Gang (above) dating from 1996. (Can it be? That was twenty years ago?) In his Sauces (below) from 1999, Tutor combines two of his favorite content areas, hot sauces and transparent objects in close-up configurations. Many of Tutor's paintings have appeared on the covers of books, record albums, and magazines as well as in shows all over the U.S. We'll not talk about any comparisons to my own work in this regard.

Sauces, 1999, Glennray Tutor
Sun Beam, Glennray Tutor. He paints BIG trucks too.


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