A tapestry of flowers

November 26, 2022 § Leave a comment

Gary Bukovnik with his “Flower Cascade” tapestry.

WHEN TWO TAPESTRIES of his flowers are released in the coming months, it will mark the realization of a long-held dream for Gary Bukovnik, the San Francisco artist whose floral watercolors are admired around the world.

“Many years ago when I when was first beginning to see tapestry as a possible fit for me and my art,” Bukovnik says, “I was contacted by the Atelier Raymond Picaud in Aubusson, France. After some talks we decided we should proceed. I made a cartoon for the 1 meter x 1.5 meter tapestry woven in the traditional way of Aubusson.”

It was a great success, and the six large tapestries of white pelargonium woven in the mid-80s sold immediately. So did a smaller tapestry of a waterlily. One of each is in the museum in Aubusson. But an economic downturn took the tapestry studio under before the partnership could flourish.

“Ever since those first works, I’ve wanted to return to this medium,” Bukovnik says. After viewing a 2020 exhibition of artist Hung Liu’s paintings hanging alongside tapestries of her work, he set about searching for a way to revive his interest in tapestry. He found it close to home. Magnolia Editions, which had made the Hung Liu tapestries, was just across the bay in Oakland.

“They were Jacquard woven tapestries that involved the newest technology,” Bukovnik says. “I had known Don Farnsworth, the director, a long time ago and asked for his guidance. There was a lot of back and forth across the bay, and finally we had chosen two images for weaving, which was done in Belgium, near the city of Bruges.”

Magnolia Editions describes itself as “a handshake between the art of the past and the art of the future” and notes: “Tapestries are an ancient medium, with antecedents from centuries past including Chinese kesi, Middle Eastern kilim carpets and Medieval European wall hangings. Yet these editions are created using cutting-edge software on state-of-the-art Macintosh computers and hot-rod industrial looms.”

The floral tapestries will be released by Magnolia Editions in an edition of 10, complete with hanging devices, for $18,000 each. Bukovnik is delighted. “I think they are quite amazing,” he says, “and I am really excited that I am on the path again to seeing my art interpreted in tapestry.”

Gary Bukovnik, “From the Garden of Earthly Delights,” 48 x 62 inches, Jacquard tapestry

Gary Bukovnik, “Flower Cascade,” 48 x 68 inches, Jacquard tapestry


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