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Idaho State University art professor Rudy Kovacs retires after 31 years at ISU

Posted January 9, 2012

Rudy Kovacs, Idaho State University professor of art, will retire in January after serving on the ISU faculty for 31 years

For the past nine years he has served as Chair of the Department of Art and Pre-Architecture.

Rudy Kovacs with one of his looms.Kovacs art practice is deeply rooted in his scholarly research. For the last decade, he has been exploring the hand-jacquard woven form using computer technology.

Learning about jacquard weaving and computer design capabilities as tools has become a direction for his research and creativity since 1995.

His exploration first began at Fondazione Arte Della Seta Lisio in Florence, Italy, and continued at the Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles. In 2002, he served as curator of the exhibition "An Academic Celebration of Idaho Artists," a collection of art by faculty of Idaho’s public colleges and universities.

Kovacs' travels to other Idaho universities became the impetus for his research project titled "Idaho Markings as Narrative: The Woven Form." The aim of Kovacs' research project was to develop both natural and fabricated markings into a narrative; consequently, he photographed marks in the Idaho landscape, originally intending to produce twelve jacquard-woven forms using material made out of cotton and paper thread. These woven forms were developed from Kovacs' aesthetic interest in markings on the Idaho landscape.

To date, Kovacs has completed 16 jacquard-woven pieces. Two of these pieces— "Idaho Markings as Narrative #2" and "Idaho Markings as Narrative #5" –were selected for the 2010 Idaho Triennial exhibition at the Boise Art Museum. These two pieces are currently on display through Jan. 20 in the Annual Art and Pre-Architecture Faculty Exhibition in the John B. Davis Gallery, located in the ISU Fine Arts Building. The remaining 14 woven pieces were exhibited earlier in the John B. Davis Gallery

Kovacs thanked the ISU Humanities/Social Sciences Research Committee, the Idaho Commission on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts for supporting his research and, in particular, this body of work.

"I also wish to pay respect to the following people who have been a part of my life concerning this work," Kovacs said. "Memories are a powerful tool, and for their part in shaping mine, I am thankful, especially for their collaboration and encouragement in ideas about the meaning of being human in the process of making art: Bill Brown, Fidalma Lisio, Robert Brain, and Rudy Kovacs, Sr., my father."

Kovacs said he has thoroughly enjoyed his tenure at ISU.

"The basis for my longevity in the Art and Pre-Architecture program has been my association with university colleagues, students, university community, and people of the State of Idaho," Kovacs said. "For 31-½ years, due to the friendship and unconditional support of university colleagues, I could not have asked for a better place of employment. I look forward to my new stage in life, continuing to live in the present. I hope you can stop by the John B. Davis Gallery to see the two pieces entitled 'Idaho Markings As Narrative.'"