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519 Uptown Oakland Gallery, Reception – Mark Bulwinkle

May 5 @ 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Join us at the John Natsoulas Gallery in Oakland, California to see selected sculptures and prints from the 50-year career of the legendary artist Mark Bulwinkle, the Oakland-based innovator of graphically cut steel. A public reception to celebrate this innovator will be held on May 5, 2023 from 4:00 – 7:00 PM.

Known for his manic steel silhouettes of dog-faced flowers and perverse, joyful figures with electrified grins, Mark Bulwinkle’s nutty artwork can be spotted across the Pacific coast, displayed proudly in windows, overgrown gardens, and small businesses. Bulwinkle’s graphically cut steel propelled him into fame, influencing the creation of Burning Man in the 1980s and even leading him to reject an interview with Oprah in 1991. However, lesser known but equally impressive is his
extensive work in diverse media: ceramics, silkscreen, papier-mache, and even digital illustration. His mastery acquired from 100-hour work weeks as a ship welder for Bethlehem Steel was important to the development of his cut steel works, but equally key was his early training as a skilled printmaker and graphic artist. Bulwinkle received an MFA in Printmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1974, making hundreds of fabulously intricate industrial enamel silkscreens and woodcuts. In these early years, he also learned ceramic slipcasting techniques from the renowned trompe l’oeil artist Richard Shaw.

This retrospective exhibition showcases Bulwinkle’s mastery of color and form in both two and three dimensions throughout the last five decades, tracing the development of his art through diverse materials and revealing the stories embedded in his work. On display are a selection of his woodcuts and screen prints, including several gorgeous prints from his time at the San Francisco Art Institute. Bulwinkle’s flamboyant ceramic works from graduate school will also be featured, as well as papier-mache works that once decorated the walls of his iconic Manilla St. House, a towering steel assemblage sculpture built around a modest townhouse that became a landmark in Oakland from 1975-1991. Recent cut steel works painted with colorful enamel will also be featured, which are often imitated but unmistakably Bulwinkle’s.


May 5
4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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John Natsoulas 519 Uptown Gallery
519 17th St.
Oakland, CA 94612 United States
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