Carved Wood & Slate Prints
artworks by William Kent
Connecticut Times Section, Sunday, September 3, 2000
  William Kent, born in Kansas City, MO 1919, is best known for his large scale wood sculptures, as one of the masters of the discipline, carving objects tall and slender, like an eight foot watch-band and dial stood on end, a seven foot "Snap-Pea," or a four foot long "Door Hook;" or whimsical objects, like a solid cherry wood smoking pipe with a wafting plume of smoke; or a massive pine "Light Bulb;" or overpowering, huge and surreal, like a polished mahogany garbage-can chariot driven by a crazed Donald Duck, an iconoclastic masterpiece that he calls "American Eagle."  
Take a short video tour of William Kent's sculpture studio
where are housed the legacy of 250 large wood carvings
  What is less know about this artist, however, is that, at one time, he was one of the nation’s most innovative printmakers, working in the unique medium of the slate print, that is, the engraving of images onto slate blackboards to produce lithographic prints. Working this medium since the 1950’s, he created "broadside commentaries" on contemporary political events, such as D.A.R. censors in indignant postures, and gathering KKK lynch mobs. But Kent also captured some of the most spellbinding moments in American history -- moments which have become prophetic icons of our own era -- such as a December, 1963 print depicting Jackie Kennedy’s whisper to young John-John to salute the passing Presidential funeral cortege.  

While a self-taught artist and sculptor, Kent does also have serious credentials as a student of Music, having first studied at Northwestern, then at Yale School of Music in the 1940’s, with the prominent German expatriate composer Paul Hindemith. Kent is also a brilliant pianist, sometimes taking a break from his sculpture studio to play for himself a Beethoven Symphony transcribed for piano, or a Schubert sonata.

From 1961 to 1965, New York gallery owner Richard Castellane featured Kent’s work in five one-person shows. Also in 1961, Kent was appointed as the first curator of the John Slade Ely House in New Haven, but in 1965 a review of one of Castellane’s shows in the New York Times, featuring satirical works by Kent based on Greek erotic vase paintings, triggered a scandal in New Haven in which he was accused by the trustees of the Ely House of being a "pornographer" and summarily dismissed from his curatorial post.



Kent subsequently withdrew to his studio in rural Connecticut, where he has however resolutely produced hundreds of ingenious wood carvings. His work has also been handled by Monique Knowlton of New York City, and by Marion Harris of Simsbury, CT, who showed his 1950’s carvings at the Outsider Art Fair in January, 1998. As a result of the NEW YORK TIMES Sunday Connecticut Section review of Kent's show by Alan Bisbort on September 3, 2000, Kent's work was added to several prominent print collections, such as the Dave & Reba Williams Collection, and the Leila Shakur Collection.


The York Square Cinema Gallery
August 27 - October 1, 2000

Reception : Sunday, September 17, 2000 4 - 6 PM

Gallery Curator : Johnes Ruta,