A drawing of a tree made with repeated stamps
John Salvest ink on paper, in "Field Guide" at David Lusk Gallery

Fans of John Salvest’s conceptual work will want to make a trip to Memphis to see his show of works on paper, “Field Guide,” at David Lusk Gallery, 97 Tillman St.

Detail, John Salvest ink on paper in “Field Guide”

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Salvest, a professor of art at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, is a master of repetition and fastidious composition: His “Forever” in Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art’s “State of the Art” exhibition, for example, was a wall of hundreds of romance novels whose bindings, set into the piece parquet-style, spelled “Forever.” For “Field Guide,” Salvest has created images of trees by repeatedly marking paper with a small, homemade inked rubber stamp; the stamps are carved in the shape of leaves. His “Tree of Trees” sculpture in the show is a vintage stamp holder slotted with his 26 homemade leaf stamps, each representing a different tree.

From the catalog:


“When I first started this it was going pretty well, I felt good about the black on white, at least for now. To me it sort of seemed like a guide book. These are all made from one tool, and I like the simplicity of that. One simple tool created all of these trees and endless possibility, much like a guide book.”

The show opens Tuesday, April 30, with a reception will be held from 5-8 p.m.  The show runs through May 25.  Salvest will talk about the work at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 11.