Boyce Kendrick was a physically big man who, according to his friend the potter Herb Cohen, “painted everything. Like many artists, he was affected by everything he saw." Kendrick was an intuitive painter, using a mix of media including oils and watercolor, with a strong sense of color, draftsmanship, and composition. And, again in Cohen's words, “Boyce’s [eyes] really twinkled! He had a wonderful personality.”
Kendrick (pictured below ca.1968) was born in Lincolnton, NC. He served as a U.S. Army paratrooper for 18 months in Japan; but as Jose Fumero recalled in an interview before HMA's 1994 Boyce Kendrick: a Retrospective exhibition, "when we asked him what he remembered about his time [in Japan], ... [he just] sang to us a beautiful, soft little love song in Japanese." It was in Japan that Kendrick first became seriously interested in painting.
In 1949 Kendrick studied at the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota FL., after which he returned to North Carolina where he lived and worked for the rest of his life. He made a living from his painting, supplementing his income by teaching throughout the Carolinas for 25 years, including at Central Piedmont Community College where he taught drawing, design and watercolor. He also taught various art classes at HMA throughout the 1970’s.
By all accounts, Kendrick was a magnetic teacher. He was first of all an artist, however, prolific and regionally well respected. He had well over 30 one-man shows throughout North Carolina, including several at HMA. “Paul Whitener gave me my first one-man show” he wrote in an undated letter about another show; and on December 9, 1963, Mickey Coe wrote to Kendrick, “Your [one-man] exhibition is still on display and I would like to say that it was unusually well received. We have had many people in to see it and no end of nice comments.”
“Kendrick cannot be labeled. His works show the influence of cubism, impressionism, abstract expressionism, and in his latest works, even a bit of pointillism. But he’s not searching for a style. He has found a number of them, and he is happy with them all.” (Camille Howell, Charlotte Observer, May 2, 1982.)
Post by Karin Borei, HMA Project Coordinator, writer and editor as needed, and HMA blogger since our blog's inception in March 2015.