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May 17, 2014

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“In my show, entitled Reverberating Silence, I attempt to carve out what I proudly call feminine territory in which the voices of effaced and silenced women reverberate, focusing on how cultural structures and strictures, repressive of women, could become dynamic and inspiring resources for female creativity.

Inspired by the traditional Korean housing style in Yi-dynasty and by Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, my project uses the motif of “a room” as a space imprisoning and repressing female creativity. At the same time, the room is a metaphor of the female body and the womb, which envelopes and generates life.

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Hence, Reverberating Silence is the site in which two completely opposite meanings of a room coexist and complete: on the one hand, it is a confining space which hampers and represses women’s artistic expression; on the other, it is the feminine space in which freed creative energy finds its expression. The exhibition features fiber works that are placed within different rooms. The individual works placed in “a room,” configure various features and movements of the female body in the creative (procreative) act.

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I constantly try to valorize devalued women’s labor and the women’s body by reversing the negative insinuations associated with female domains and imbuing them with positive qualities. For that purpose, I often utilize needle, thread, and fabric in order to call into question the deep-seated bias that women’s work is trivial, menial, marginal and undesirable.  By incorporating wool, fiber, and string into the sculptural production, I convert the conventional “feminine” activity of needle works into a useful medium for the making of art. Through the strategic use of media that have been traditionally associated with the feminine, I want to show that seemingly ‘menial female work’ can be a source of pleasure and power for women.

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The slow nature of my technique seems to reenact the creative process of birthing. This recalls the gradual forming of the fetus through the intersection of capillary within the belly of the mother or perhaps the silkworm’s patient and continuous spinning leading the creation of its cocoon. Thus, these pieces speak not so much of sorrow, anger, regrets, but rather, of healing, recovering, inner joy attained by/through converting the physical, oppressive condition into the stimulating and dynamic inner resources for creative life.”

-Shin-hee Chin

 

April 12, 2014

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Thanks to everyone who came out last night to support the region’s up and coming art students at the 19th annual Undergraduate College Student Exhibition!  Juror Tommy Frank’s selections will be on display now through April 25th, 2014, so you still have time to come check out the variety of works.

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The Leigh Rosenberg Earnest Memorial Fund award winners were:

Undergraduate-College-Student_Opening-24_EX_4-14-web Joey Watson – Kansas City Art Institute

Undergraduate-College-Student_Opening-09_EX_4-14-web Rachel Smith – Metropolitan Community College

Undergraduate-College-Student_Opening-23_EX_4-14-web Ryan Johnson – Washburn University

Undergraduate-College-Student_Opening-25_EX_4-14-web Sophia Reed – University of Central Missouri

The Undergraduate College Student Exhibition is a fantastic opportunity for students to exhibit their work outside of the university environment and step into the professional gallery sphere for what may be the first time.  Keep an eye out for next year’s exhibition!

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March 28, 2014

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The work included here represents the latest exploration of the Excavation project I began in 2006. The excavation is literal—the photographs utilize the details of disturbed land as the setting for the arrangements I create and then photograph. Earlier examples emphasized throwaways in the compositions. In our consumer culture, we toss away the objects we buy with ease. It seems the landscape is equally expendable. The recent work stresses natural objects and materials. In either case, I’m interested in how nature recovers from the scars we inflict on the landscape.

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Essentially I’m doing still life using whatever I find—mud, rock or plant material—as part of the setup. This staged approach, focusing on relatively small details, tends to emphasize formal order, and indeed I delight in the contemplative aspect of view camera work. But I also consciously mimic the haphazard look of the discarded, which can in turn be ordered by the process of seeing photographically. Even the random marks from the dozer can reveal some underlying structure. Art gives us the opportunity to imagine order where none is apparent.

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I’m especially interested in the order that the forces of nature generate. My compositions evolve. The sun, wind and rain can significantly change the effect in a few hours or a few months. The transformation creates surprises—good and bad—as I photograph the various stages of deterioration. Lately I’m using common roofing felt as a substrate for the process to unfold.

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The recent work emphasizes new formal possibilities, just as the land itself continually reconfigures the disruption. Plant life seems to flourish even in the most inhospitable situations. I believe the planet Earth will be just fine in the long term. Whether or not it will suitable for human habitation remains an open question.

– Gary Cawood

March 22, 2014

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“I make sculptural instruments and devices which function either actually, or metaphorically.  Often created for use in a specific location or inspired by a particular historical account, their meticulous craftsmanship lends them authority as functional objects, but upon inspection may seem quite absurd, fetishistic, alchemical, or otherwise uncanny. Their elusive, esoteric function tickles curiosity and speculation.

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The collaboration between user and tool results in an experience/experiment; the duo act as a machine.  The objects may be seen without their user; their obfuscated intentions exist as mere possibilities, in the mind.  Is it any different than viewing 17th century devices, inventions and innovations far removed from our digital world in the 21st?  The ‘present moment’ has always evinced a fascinating, modern world at the height of technology.  It is an uncanny thing viewed with the benefit of hindsight.

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My current “Nautical Body” of sculpture, performance, and drawings has required me to physically become one.  I exhaustively researched maritime history and culture to actualize a modern relationship to stories, lore, and tricks and trades of explorers, pirates, fishermen, ‘old salts,’ and sea-steading sailors. It forced me to live the life of my subject -living and working on an 83’ sailing schooner, and later my own 23’ sailboat.  This training instilled a rare insight into the “dying art” of maritime culture, practical techniques, and crafts, which inspire the work.  The local environment of the Atlantic coast and its rich maritime history inspires and influences the work.  Subjects like sailor’s “marlinespike seamanship” decorative knotting, carvings, scrimshaw, tatttoos, horns, signals, lanterns, as well as physical endurance are moved into startling, humorous, and ironic frames of reference.  I make a contemporary reflection on history and the importance of the sea to culture… with the benefit of hindsight.”

-Christy Georg

March 15,2014

The art auction raised over $68,750! Corporate sponsorships were $7,800, donations from local businesses were approximately $9,620. That, with ticket sales and 100’s of volunteer hours created another successful auction!

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What an amazing result! These funds allow KCAC to match government grants, fund exhibitions, services, advocacy, grants, and residencies. Thank you for your support of the 31st Annual Benefit Art Auction of the Kansas City Artist Coalition. We are honored by the donation of art that you gave to KCAC.

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The auction generates not only funds, but also excitement for our mission of promoting visual arts and artists in Kansas City. This outcome would not have been achieved without you and all the artists and volunteers, including our Auction Honorary Chairperson Mayor Sly James and Mrs. Licia Clifton-James, and the KCAC Board of Directors.

Your help provides a lifeline for the Artists Coalition, keeping it strong and in turn making Kansas City a truly exciting place to be an artist.

The auction is more than a great fundraiser for the Artists Coalition; it can be a great marketing tool for you too. Now is the time to keep working and get the word out about your shows. Send show notices to your buyer and build a bigger, better audience for you and the arts, one patron at a time. Use the list to increase your audience for your work at future exhibitions.

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When you help the Kansas City Artists Coalition you help create our community’s culture. Together we are making Kansas City a truly exciting place for the arts. I hope you will keep the 2015 art auction in mind as you plan your future charitable giving. The 32nd Annual KCAC Art Benefit Auction is set for Saturday, February 21, 2015. Next year is a very special year, commemorating KCAC’s 40th year in existence! The Artists Coalition is a 501 (c) 3 charity and donations are deductible to the extent allowed by law.

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Photos by www.angiejenningsphotography.com

 

February 14, 2014

Thank you so much for everyone that attended our Sweetheart Reception Wednesday night! With nearly 300 people in attendance, we had 29 buyouts.  Honorary Chairperson Mayor Sly James spoke and seemed to have quite the time.

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But there is plenty more art for sale on Saturday at the 31st Annual Art Auction.  Doors are at 6pm and tickets with bidder numbers can be bought at the door for $25.  We cant wait to see you Saturday night!

January 16, 2014

Dinner in the Residency Studio

The holidays were over, but at KCAC we still had some celebrating to do. On Thursday, January 2, KCAC patrons Nancy and Bryan Beaver hosted an elegant dinner in the Kansas City International Residency at the Artists Coalition.

By day, the space is a communal art studio shared by visiting international artists. But this night, the studio had been transformed into a beautiful wonderland with tablecloths, fresh flowers, candles and extraordinary miniature sculptures created by Tom Corbin. The lovely environment was just the beginning.

First, there was the chef: Dinner was created and served by James Beard award-winning chef Michael Smith and his beautiful wife, Nancy, who also selected the wine pairings.

Second, there was the artist: The evening was enhanced by an art salon conversation with Tom Corbin, one of Kansas City’s most talented and successful artists. Tom was the perfect artist to join the party since, for over 20 years, the KCAC International Residency had been his studio and gallery.

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Take a look at the extraordinary menu – one delicious course followed by another:

Menu

The evening started with a tour of KCAC’s residency and gallery and included passed hors d’oeuvres of foie gras crostini and prosciutto wrapped salsify. The first course was an eye and taste bud appealing main lobster and king crab salad.

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The second course was a hand-folded pasta dish, a delicate and flavorful crescenza cheese-filled crespelle with shaved black truffles. Then came diver-caught scallops the size of a child’s fist.

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The last two hearty courses included a smoked and grilled beef tenderloin dish, followed by a warm dark chocolate-pecan tart with salted caramel sauce and homemade bourbon ice cream.

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Who was there? Well, of course, the evening was hosted by Nancy and Bryan Beaver with Michael and Nancy Beaver plus Tom and Susie Corbin. Guests included Nancy and Rich Duval, Kerry and Sam Oliver, as well Vicki and Mike Messbarger.

Between courses, Tom Corbin talked about his career as a sculptor and painter. His path from cardboard box salesman to artist extraordinaire fascinated all the guests.

It was a wonderful night which proved the point that there’s creativity in both food and art!

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January 10. 2014

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Most of my work is centered on issues and processes of perception, memory, personal narrative, and the construction of meaning over time. I’m interested in who and what we are, both personally and culturally, especially as a result of choices we make in the process of self-definition. I’m equally interested in issues of perception, definition, and expression in art; I’m interested in vocabulary, structure, technique, and methods.

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The majority of my pieces, such as Flight, In tempo, Passing Figure, and One, two deal with the construction of meaning and personal narrative from biographical sources. Others, such as Epiphany, Signs and Wonders, and Billboard, are concerned with political and mass media discourse as social narrative text. Some pieces–Act II, Crawl, Five Modernist Essays, Solving for X– are about art.

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I work with any number of elements–video, sampled and synthesized sound and music, photography, film, painting, text–anything digital or that can be digitized. Many of my gallery pieces are video/animation/sound objects meant to be encountered in the same sense and mode in which one encounters traditional gallery media such as painting or sculpture. I often use video, a time-medium, to isolate, freeze, and explore a subject, event, or moment in time. A musician, I tend to build time-structures in reference to strategies and techniques, such as counterpoint, employed in musical composition.

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Dziga Vertov (film), Anton Webern (music), and Gerhard Richter (painting) are representative of artists who have had a significant influence on my work. Vertov’s ethos in his declaration I am cinema-eye, I am camera-eye, his development of film as a separate reality, nearly an alternative consciousness, have influenced my conception of media composition as a self-referencing language, much like music. Webern’s serial work, in which every note is a planet, every movement a universe, suggests to me strategies for the composition of time-forms or time-objects in which the elements of new media are organized within traditional formal structures. I am enormously attracted to the work of Gerhard Richter, who often bases his art on photographs and other preexisting sources, and whose technique includes the ability to control radically different vocabularies, sometimes within the same frame.

Michael Lasater

 

January 4, 2014

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In my current body of work, drawing is my primary means of expression. The immediacy of drawing allows a close connection between mark and thought, as working from imagination is central to my process. Through an interaction with drawing materials, particularly charcoal, and sometimes ink, using mark making, layering, erasing and smudging, I build content in my work, as opposed to medium being selected offhand at the service of an idea. As a result, progressive stages of a drawing determine its content: compositionally, I begin with lines and shapes, yet occasionally with a specific subject in mind from previously completed sketches, which suggest figures and environments. This subject matter interacts to imply narrative and the passage of time, which is enhanced by dividing drawings into multiple sections. Recently, I have used multi-sectioned drawings to examine similarities and differences between my memories of the U.S.’s Midwest and of southern Japan, the two places I reside each year, by juxtaposing visual and spatial features unique to both locations.

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My subjects are human figures in contemporary urban settings, which I enhance by depicting them from unfamiliar points of view, revealing the value of everyday visual experience as a topic of exploration in drawing. I work from imagination, shifting points of view presented in drawings from the memories that initiate them. I strive to avoid external references until my ability to visualize a subject fails, after which I use observational sketches and photographs to complete final details. My interest in depicting the passage of time, dynamic space defined by the human figure and linear perspective, and drawing from imagination comes from the influence of comic book art, work by Lienil Yu is an example, as well as art examining the figure in urban and domestic settings within active compositions, such as work by Edgar Degas, Edward Hopper, and Robert Birmelin.

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Lastly, my drawings are large-scale, which I hang unmediated by a frame, bringing them into the audience’s immediate space and making the process each drawing has undergone directly visible to viewers. The scale of the drawings, the figures within them, as well as composition and point of view, place the audience in unexpected, and sometimes overwhelming, spaces, enabling the resonant experiences from which the drawings are inspired achieve a similar resonance with viewers.

Christopher Troutman

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November 1, 2013

Here in the states many of us anxiously await the coming of Halloween. We know that it is a night full of spooky noises, yummy candy and chills to last us until next year. But, imagine if you weren’t from here and you just happened to be in Kansas City during Halloween. Well this is exactly what happened for our current artists-in-residence! So, of course we had to show them what a good old fashion Halloween was all about here in Kansas City.

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Our two Turkish artists Zehra Cobanli and Derya Geylani joined us last night for some traditional Halloween festivities that we are sure they will never forget. We all had a great time relaying stories of trick or treating, the origin of Halloween and passing out candy to all the little ghouls and goblins that came knocking.

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Happy (Belated) Halloween!

Marissa Starke

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October 25, 2013

The Kansas City International Residency at the Artists Coalition is nearly full this month and we are having a blast with our current artists in residence! Zehra Cobanli and Derya Geylani join us from Turkey and are inspiring us with their amazing ceramic skills. And not to be out done, Michel Delacroix came to us by way of France to show us a little something about installation art.

Last night we all joined local art collector and art patron Scott Heidmann at his home for an evening dedicated to our very own artists in residence. It couldn’t have been a better evening filled with food, friends and a beautiful art collection. The party was a fantastic opportunity for our artists to meet some of the fabulous patrons of the arts here in Kansas City and in turn was a great chance for us to introduce them to the ever so welcoming Kansas City community.

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We hope you join us for future events with our artists in residence over the next couple of weeks! You certainly don’t want to miss out on all the fun we are having right here in Kansas City!

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For a list of future events and more information on our current residents please visit the Kansas City Artists Coalitions website.

Marissa Starke

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October 19, 2013

A more detailed account of our current show in the Mallin Gallery from the artist, Maria Velasco:

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A Very Long Night/La Noche Mas Largais my newest body of work using graphite drawings, large-scale digital prints, and an experimental animation.The graphite is directly applied to the gallery walls to represent different rooms of an iconic home—an entry hall, a living room, a kitchen, a bedroom, and a bathroom—that act as backgrounds for large prints representing figures of children and adults, shadows, windows, and door openings, all of which are drawn to actual scale. The Installation also contains an animation, in which the same drawings and characters reappear again, unfolding as a series of non-linear events that take the children in and out of the “ordinary” world of their home and into inexplicable landscapes where the drawings come to life. Throughout the work, there are multiple allusions to role-playing, and the blurring of boundaries between what is real and what is fictional, creating an enigmatic space that invites viewers to unravel the mystery within the narrative.

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The imagery is inspired by Juan Velasco’s book The Massacre Of The Dreamers> (Polibea Press, Madrid: 2010), and centers upon two children who play make-believe games of “Cowboys and Indians.” The children often allude to an adult character, disguised as “Buffalo Bill,” who visits them at night and plays with them, but in actuality, this person is a sexual predator who abuses them. Neither the book nor the imagery is intended as a literal illustration of child abuse, but rather, both aim to emphasize the tension between the psychological and the physical spaces that the different characters occupy and to highlight the vulnerability of the children as well as the menacing and mysterious presence of adults.

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For the book, I produced a suite of six prints which combine the theme of the Old West with children’s drawings of “Cowboys and Indians”, as staged in the book. The formal choices that I make for the artwork are informed by my research on abuse including live testimonials of adult survivors who share their insight and memories of their experience. Additional research on sexual abuse reveals that the trauma may surface in the form of a made-up story, or a series of mixed events that appear nonsensical. Often, the abusers belong to the circle of “trusted adults” and lead the children to believe that the abuse is “okay” or a “game.” Consequently, the installation contains an array of domestic imagery, allusions to play, and children’s drawings that come to life, all interconnected as a series of non-linear events. The animation entitled “Your Ideal End” is in progress. As I begin to consider how the story might end, I realize of the potential for conversation with the community to invite them to conceive multiple ends and to discuss different experiences of “closure.” Supported by a Rocket Grant Research and Development grant, I am currently working with Bibliotherapist Biri Rottenberg to offer a series of workshops and seminars using various types of readings, writing, and drawing exercises to combine clinical and creative perspectives in relationship to child abuse cases. We are currently identifying a group of PhD students to participate through the University of Kansas Psychological Clinic and with their permission we will incorporate their ideas and ask them to craft “ideal” ends to the story, in hopes to explore multiple paths to healing. The meeting of Bibliotherapy and Art will provide them with tools and ideas to deal with child abuse cases during their training in an interdisciplinary environment. More information about this project is available at http://rocketgrants.org

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I would like to thank my collaborators Matthew Gonzales and Shine Adams, without whom this work would not have been made possible.  My sincerest appreciation goes to Carrie Beall, Jason Zeh, Steven Prohira, Solace Naeymi, Andrew Sims, and Anna Davis, who have lent an invaluable hand during the drawing and installation process.  I would like to thank the Kansas City Artist Coalition for all the assistance they have provided me with staff, a generous crew of volunteers, and its Director, Janet Simpson, for inviting me to do this project in the first place.  This project has been partially funded by a Lighton International Artist Exchange Program – a project of the Kansas City Artist Coalition, Kansas City, MO – and the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.”

See Velasco, along with Clyde Heppner (Charno Gallery), and James Beasley and Shannon Ross (Underground Gallery)  until November 8th, 2013.  Gallery hours are Wednesday-Saturday, 11am-5pm.

Photos Courtesy of Matthew Gonzales.

Erin Hall

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September 19, 2013

If you’ve seen anything from us lately, it’s quite possibly Zehra Çobanlı’s Tulip Time installation.

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Look familiar? If you haven’t seen it in person in the Mallin Gallery, you’ve likely been privy to it’s image from our multitude of Facebook posts, Instagram photos, emails, etc. in regards to the Islamic Exchange exhibition. Through the process of unpacking (12 hours), installing (4 hours), and exhibiting (1 month) these 836 pieces, we have become quite familiar with it.

Tulips’ expanding spiral form re-cements our attraction to the multiple. Exposing each individual piece in unpacking was a joy to discover due to their inherent individual beauty. But though Çobanlı’s individual tulip forms exist well on a singular level, they flourish in the whole of the installation and gain strength within their historic contexts, as all individuals are want to do.

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Coming out of Çobanlı’s blue series, Tulip Time evolves from traditional Turkish ceramics. Çobanlı’s process imitates Cini, or Iznik pottery from the late 16th century, where the blue and white floral motif came from the imitation of the highly prized Chinese porcelain. But for her, the blue color represents “freedom, sky, romantism, the oceans and the soul.” So while Çobanlı’s blue series is an exercise in the “traditional and the local,” she makes it her own with Turkish calligraphy and re-invented feminine forms.

Zehra Çobanlı will be at the Kansas City International Residency at the Artists Coalition for a month October 20 – November 20.

On Saturday, November 9 join her for an Artist’s Gallery Walk at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 1:30-2:30 p.m. meet in Bloch Lobby. See you there.

Erin Hall

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August 16, 2013

5 Art Blogs:

I spend a great deal of time looking at art throughout my day. This isn’t really a surprise since it is part of my job! But, the great part about my job is that looking at art all day is something that I would do even if I wasn’t being paid to do it.

So I thought I would share some of my favorite places to learn about new and contemporary art! I have listed some of my all time favorite blogs and websites for all things art. Some sites are more about the images where as others are more about the words, but there is a little something for everyone out there. These are in no particular order as I could never discern a favorite between all of these!

My Modern Met

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My Modern Met is a collaborative site where many people contribute quick thoughts on works from across the world. I love coming here throughout the day and seeing a new post almost every time! The works range from huge public art installations to tiny drawings on the tops of pins.

BOOOOOOOM!

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The title says it all! The content on this site is mainly managed by one person, so it is like you are getting a little insight into their loves and likes each time you visit. The content is VERY image heavy but I find a new artist that I fall in love with here almost every day!

The History of Art in GIFS

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The art historian in me sort of nerds out on this site each time I see it pop up on my screen. Every entry is a masterpiece and the site author gives us a mini art history class on each one in only 15-30 seconds! So jump over and get a little refresher on a Michelangelo today!

Beautiful Decay

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This site is relatively new to me so I am still learning what I love about it each time I visit. I especially love that they break down art medias so that you can focus on just painting or sculpture each time you visit!

Hi Fructose

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Many of you may have already heard of this site, but I can’t let it go as it has been a place I always return to. Hi-Fructose has been a magazine publication since 2005 and since the dawn of blogging and the internet they have come to include their knowledge on a blog for all of us to enjoy until the next issue comes out!

Please enjoy some art today!

Marissa Flynn

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August 9, 2013

Anniversary — The Kansas City Artists Coalition was incorporated August 9, 1976
Islamic Exhange (Pritika Chowdhry/Sheikh Shahriar Ahmed)

KCAC’s mission and goal is to support artists. When founded, Kansas City offered few opportunities and local artists were not taken very seriously. The few local galleries mainly showed the art of artists living elsewhere. KCAC began by lobbying for professional venues for local artists and mounting exhibitions in empty commercial spaces. In the beginning, considerable energy was also put into KCAC’s publication, FORUM, today KCAC’s website serves the same purpose.

Eventually, the organization saw that it would serve both artists and the community to open an exhibition venue. In 1983, KCAC opened Kansas City’s first alternative gallery, at 616 Central. A year later the gallery moved to 39th & Bell and in 1986 KCAC moved to its current location in the River Market.
Exhibitions quickly became the main focus of KCAC programming. Since 1983 KCAC’s alternative spaces have provided thousands artists a chance to show their work. Today KCAC has three galleries.

KCAC’s exhibitions and programs reflect the rich artistic, cultural and ethnic diversity that exists in our city, state, nation and world. KCAC’s desire is to support all artists in their quest to realize their vision. KCAC is also a space for innovative and experimental art, which does not readily lend itself to commercial venues. KCAC is the voice of inclusion in our community and continues to be a primary support for local artists.

KCAC now has global initiatives, the Lighton International Artists’ Exchange Program and the Kansas City International Residency at the Artists Coalition. LIAEP started in 2002, works to make the world a smaller place by giving artists of different cultures the opportunity to work together in the hope that lasting friendship and understanding will develop and the mission of the International Residency is to bring artists from around the world together in order to build friendships and improve intercultural understanding.

Opening today, on our anniversary, is another global initiative: Islamic Exchange — An Exhibition of Contemporary Art by Islamic Artists and others inspired by Islamic traditions and issues. Exhibiting artists include three international artists: Fatima Abu Roomi (Israel) July 2013 Artist in Residence, Zehra Cobanli (Turkey) October 2013 Artist in Residence, and Sheikh Shahriar Ahmed (Bangladesh). Also showing are four artists with a global outlook: Sophia Ahmed Sattar (USA/Pakistan), Pritika Chowdhry (USA/India), Corinne Whitlatch (USA), and Helen Zughaib (USA/Lebanon).

Janet Simpson
Executive Director, Kansas City Artists Coalition

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July 19, 2013

RIVER MARKET REGIONAL EXHIBITION

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Many people say they don’t understand art. No one says this about music. Or food. No one says “I don’t understand Mozart.” Or pizza. But they say it about art. Why? Because art is an alchemical process; seemingly not as direct as music or food. Art exists in the material world. In fact the artist’s primary job is to embed thought in material. Even Duchamp’s urinal has the artist’s thought embedded in it; in its title; in the idea of someone calling it art; of an artist sublimating his own choices in order to choose something that already exists in the world. Yet, people still look at much art and say they don’t understand it. This is art’s revolutionary power. That it exists just beyond language, in a non-linear, paradoxical realm where several things can be true at the same time, a place where your eyes don’t necessarily process everything that you’re seeing and what you’re seeing transforms in the mind into something that is not simply something to be looked at but that transcends this narrow modern definition of art and is transformed once again into an object that does something.

Art that does something. That’s what I was looking for when I juried this show. Art that surprised me. With more than novelty or a flash of skin. Surprised me for more than a moment, surprised me and kept me surprised. I look for art that tried to fail flamboyantly. I don’t mean art that someone dropped from their roof in a goofy Dada gesture. I mean art that when the artist made it I could imagine this artist thinking, “Oh no. What have I done?” Art that did something that the artist wasn’t expecting. Something, maybe that the artists didn’t want to happen, didn’t want anyone else to see, until it became clear that this was the way the art wanted to be seen. I looked for artists who didn’t seem to take the paths more traveled, the dependable academically approved ways and means of making art. I looked for artists who seemed to have skill but that then tried to unlearn or relearn skill, redefine it into something other than “good drawing” or “respectable abstraction”.

I looked for artists who seemed driven to provide some sort of unknown algorithmic reaction to their topic, their medium, material, process, and desires. Artists who where somehow trying to make things that haven’t been seen before, provide a taxonomy into their inner-lives, fashioning encyclopedic palaces in single works, were interested in the representation of the invisible, the unseen, the unseeable.

What shocked me; what thrilled me is that I saw a lot of these kinds of art coming out of the Kansas City area. This show could have been twice as large. I narrowed it down less because of quality than the finite problem of space.

I know that many will look at much of this art and think, “This judge is cracked!” They could be right. But for me, being “right” is one of the least interesting human qualities under the stars.

Jerry Saltz

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July 11, 2013

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I tried to imagine what anyone might want to know about me and my work. The list came out to be brief. I have not changed my name. I lived a less than productive life (to put it mildly) between leaving college and being led back to painting. I was graciously moved away from that which was not me, back toward that which is really me.

I have developed a true passion for painting over just a few years. There is absolutely nothing I would rather be doing. I have an interest in storytelling through my pictures. I even make up stories to go with the abstracts as I work. The representational pieces each present a story that can be simple or complex and hopefully both at once.

I make well finished works, that is just my nature. I have no preconception of final product or details; the paintings demand all too frequent changes.

To begin a painting a sketch or two is usually enough. I never draw on the canvas but start right in with paint using my sketches as a guide. I like a wide range of tools and really only use brushes a bit more than half of the time. I like knives and towels, fingers, sandpaper, and worn out brushes with hardly any bristles left.

I think creativity flows through everything constantly and to use it just means you are a receiver for it. I always look forward eagerly to the natural evolution of my work.

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It is my hope that you will look into the work and find something uplifting or something that makes you smile. I can’t completely give up an attempt at a little comedy from time to time. I want to connect with the viewer, show that we share emotions and give them something interesting and hopefully compelling to look at and think about.

Sid Laser

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June 27, 2013

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Last night I had the great opportunity to hang out a little later than usual at KCAC and listen to a great lecture from a remarkably talented individual. Fabrizio Acquafresca is a chasing and repoussé artist from Florence, Italy. He is currently in Kansas City teaching a class at Genevieve Flynn Studio, but we were more than happy for him to take a break from class and spend some time in the Project Room talking about his family, work and world travels.

For those of you that might not be familiar with the terms chasing and repoussé I have traveled over to the ever handy Wikipedia to find a nice and succinct definition for you! Repoussé is used to work on the reverse of the metal to form a raised design on the front, chasing is used to refine the design on the front of the work by sinking the metal. This particular method of decorative artistry has been a long standing tradition in European decorative arts and is still highly regarded in the metals worlds today.

Fabrizio’s family has been working and creating fantastic works of art since the 14th century so you can only imagine the amazing stories that we were regaled with last night. The first was of a distant relation who created the breech loading system for guns which would be the precursor for automatic weapons of the future. Next we heard stories of the creation of a caviar dish made from 25 pounds of silver for the Prince of Brunei. Then we heard of a bathtub made entirely from silver for a Russian client with bronze fish for the spouts. But I think the most amazing story for me of the night were of the Bible covers he has created for the past three Popes of Vatican City. He has crafted Bible covers for Pope John Paul, Pope Benedict and the current Pope Francis. The stories were remarkable and extraordinary. We spent the evening laughing and in awe of the wondrous works and tales that Fabrizio shared with us throughout the night. I hope that he returns soon to share with us what I am sure are to be more grand stories and tales that make us smile and stare in open mouthed awe at what he calls the life in a day of Il Maestro Acquafresca.

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For more information on Fabrizio please visit his website or maybe take a class at one of the many workshops he teaches in Italy at Alchimia or Lorenzo de Medici The Italian International Institute. Then make sure to share your remarkable stories and travels with us!

Marissa Flynn

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June 21, 2013

Saltz_Jerry-2Last night I arrived at the Nelson-Atkins to a lobby buzzing with people excitedly waiting in line to enter the Atkins Auditorium. We were all there to hear the last lecture in the series “Exciting Thinkers in Art”. As I took my seat it dawned on me how appropriate it was to end such a spectacular series with a truly exciting lecture such as the one and only Jerry Saltz.

For those of you that might not be familiar with Mr. Saltz, he is the Senior Art Critic for the New York Magazine. His witty comments and humor have carved out a special niche among the critics of New York and around the world. But aside from this, Jerry Saltz has created something of an artist commune through the social media world of Facebook. He poses questions and raises issues each day to his followers and encourages them to begin dialogues and to argue amongst themselves. His approach to critic and art is very different than many of his contemporaries which in turn creates a refreshing perspective and opinion

Mr. Saltz began his lecture last night with a very simple statement that seemed to set the tone for the whole night, “Artist’s are weird. Really weird.”

I can only liken the feeling throughout the night as though listening to Mel Brooks talk about art and artists in an intimate setting. I laughed until I cried. But the best part of the whole lecture was that Mr. Saltz not only spoke directly to every single artist in the audience, but also helped each of us to remember not to take art so seriously. At one point, Mr. Saltz declared that in his opinion “85% of the art I see is crap, but all of our 85% is different. This is the beauty of art.” He helped us to remember that what he writes is merely his opinion. He reminded us that he has no real power over artists, art careers or their success.

Towards the end of his lecture, Mr. Saltz took a minute to reminded artists that it is important to create community/gangs and within these gangs to stay up late, talk, disagree and support one another. Saltz spoke of the importance of studio time and that even when you don’t know what you are doing, work! Work in times of good, bad or whatever. He told artists to allow themselves to create crap and to not be the best because this will take us somewhere. Simply put Jerry Saltz tells us not to be afraid. Do not be afraid to pursue anything because of outside or internal demons. By ignoring the demons we allow the real art to come out and that is when we create true art.

Tonight Jerry Saltz will be speaking here at KCAC in regards to the River Market Regional Exhibition that he juried. I encourage each and everyone of you to join us this evening for a night that is sure to be full of laughter, surprises and lots of art! Here are a few pieces that will be here tonight in the River Market Regional Exhibition.

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Works from top left to bottom right: Joe Bussell, Fred Trease, Linda Lighton & Kate Clements

Marissa Flynn

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June 15, 2013

The works of Laura McPhee have haunted me since the opening of her exhibition at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in May. I just couldn’t seem to shake them, so I was thrilled to be able to attend her lecture last night at the Kemper and to get a chance to revisit the works with the artist.

The format of the pieces is shocking! They are gigantic. Each piece measures six by eight feet with at least 15 images on display. I can only assume that McPhee chose this size in order to place the audience directly into each piece, and it certainly works. No matter what distance you are from the piece you can faintly see yourself reflected in the image. You are transported to each wondrous scene she brings into the gallery space.

The body of work that McPhee presents to us at the Kemper is from a period of time she spent in the Sawtooth Valley in central Idaho. The works range from images of the land to the people inhabiting the largely desolate area.

McPhee addresses many subjects throughout the series but I was most drawn to three specifically. The first was of a little girl named Mattie. McPhee creates various juxtapositions with Mattie as a young 21st century girl growing up in a Western community working in a farming community.

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The second series that took my breath away were her images of the simple beauty in the landscape of what seems to be an untouched environment.

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And third, were the images of a vast forest fire that occurred during McPhee’s residency.

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Each work is remarkable on its own, but together these pieces will stay with you for a lifetime. McPhee’s works are something that each of you should take some time with before the show comes down on September 22. Please go enjoy the art that is right here in our beautiful and artistic Kansas City community!

Marissa Flynn

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June 1, 2013
It seems that the god’s of rain have been shining down on KC over the past few days but this didn’t stop the Nelson Atkins from putting on a spectacular event last night for the opening of their newest exhibition Frida Kahlo Diego Rivera and Masterpieces of Modern Mexico from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection. The night was fraught with music, food and more art than one could even imagine!

As I walked through the lobby of the Bloch Building, traditional music by Grupo Aztlan was crooning to a group of people dancing the night away as other patrons took in the atmosphere with beverages and food catered by Frida’s. The mood was set and in motion and I couldn’t wait to get down to the art itself.

I have to admit that I was not entirely prepared for what I was about to see before my eyes as I entered into the galleries. Orange, yellow and green walls jumped out before me, a little seating area in the center of the room with bright blue chairs and tables, and of course there was the art. Groups of work hung salon style as if they were in the Gelman’s home, pieces hanging in their original frames taking on a presence all their own and your immediately recognizable works by the Mexican Masters.

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As I strolled through the galleries and looked at the vast collection of works the range of the collection overwhelmed me. There was a little bit for everyone there, landscapes, portraits, abstracts, realism, sculpture and installations. As I finished with one piece I was immediately drawn to the next. The works range from the early 1900’s to present day artists that are pulling from the influences of the very people they are showing their works with now. I spent nearly two hours in the two galleries taking in each piece and reading the vast amounts of information that covered the walls along with the works themselves, but I still walked away feeling as though I just needed a little more time with the collection.

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So needless to say, I will be back to visit the collection over the next several months and I encourage each and every one of you to do the same. The collection is for many of us a once in a lifetime opportunity to see some of the most remarkable and groundbreaking works coming from our neighbors to the South. The exhibition runs until August 18 but don’t delay in case you too would like to visit the works more than once!

Marissa Flynn

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May 31, 2013
Moving Land Masses
As many who have explored my Ireland blog know, I had the great opportunity of working as a Senior Artist-In-Residence at Oregon College of Art and Craft the summer of 2011. I arrived aware of, and prepared to deal with, the three fault lines that run through the region and tensions the westward-drifting North American continent was imposing on the western coast. I made somewhat literal use of the fault lines to create tensions in cutting up my plywood surfaces and shifting them on each other, as in the Fault Line series in the current exhibition at KCAC.

In Ireland, just three months later thanks to a Lighton International Exchange Program Grant and a Fellowship from the Ballinglen Arts Foundation, I was working less than six miles from the Ce’ide Fields outside of Ballycastle in County North Mayo. This is mostly an archaeology site where, beneath the peat bog, a culture from five thousand years in the past has been uncovered. In researching the Ce’ide Fields, I have been reminded of where the North American continent originated. I have read that the openings of the rocks in this region date back about sixty million years to the time when the American continent began to drift west from Europe. (researched by Dr. Seamus Caulfield and others related to the Ce’ide Fields) [ http://ceidefields.com/ceide/the-centre/ ]. Ireland’s west coast is the ripped remains of the severing of the landmasses – the opposite end of continental drift from my summer explorations in Portland.

Ultimately it dawned on me to take advantage of this serendipity. I brought one piece of red oak veneer with me from Kansas (actually purchased in Portland) that has veining that seems to be pulling away from each other. The resulting painting, in my exhibit at KCAC, is titled “Continental Drift.”

Nelson Smith

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May 24, 2013
My uncle and mentor once told me, “Be thankful for your ability to create. It will get you through the hard times.” This was more prophetic than I could’ve imagined.

The paintings in my current exhibit in the KCAC Underground gallery were created during an especially turbulent time for my family which began with my brothers violent, inexplicable suicide gone wrong and ends nine months later with the simultaneous news that my brother had died and that my wife was expecting.

During this tragic period, I painted to escape, distract, comfort and to confront. I’d proudly share the works created to escape and distract. They benefitted from my desire to fixate on something other than the constantly evolving, ugly calamity my family was enduring.

On the other hand the paintings made to comfort and confront the situation felt so personal and honest that I found them embarassing and would hide them after completion. That dissonance in attitude towards my own art made me feel as though I was telling a half truth.

This exhibit allowed me to bring together those works I’ve struggled to keep separate despite their particularly deep connectedness. And in putting this exhibit together I realized that lesson should apply to all my art, not just for this particular period of work. Allowing these styles of very different origins to exist openly together tells a more complete story. They amplify each other.

Thank you to the KCAC for the great opportunity to walk through these personally evocative works with a new found level of clarity, and for the wisdom gained from that experience. It was satisfying and I hope the exhibit is interesting as a result.

John Hare

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brad-kahlhamerMay 24, 2013
Last night was the opening of a remarkable exhibition at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art entitled Bowery Nation by Brad Kahlhamer. The museum in conjunction with the opening had Kahlhamer and a panel, consisting of curators Jan Schall and Gaylord Torrence and Nerman Museum Director Bruce Hartman, hosted a discussion of the works on view in the Project Room and how the exhibition has evolved over the past 28 years since its original beginnings.

Bowery Nation brings together 100 hand crafted katsina-like dolls and 22 birds made from found objects and materials in Kahlhamer’s studio and day to day life. As one begins to study the sculptures you find bits of torn shirts that have become make shift dresses, bicycle tire tubes for noses, nails and screws are transformed into arms and legs. Kahlhamer’s dolls manage to evoke the same intrigue and mystery that the original katsina dolls of Hopi tradition brought to travelers and traders in the early 1800’s. One can’t help but look upon them and begin to secretly decide which their favorite is.

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Beyond the dolls as individual works, the Project Room has created an entire space for what becomes an installation piece by Kahlhamer. The dolls are displayed on a structure that is assembled from materials found in Kahlhamer’s studio. The table is then dressed with a single image that is repeated around the edge of the table. The image comes from the Lakota Thrifty Mart which is operated by the Cheyenne Sioux in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. The imagery of the logo itself repeats the landscape theme that seems to resonate through Kahlhamer’s piece. The table becomes a mesa, as the chairs and ladders represent mountains and plateaus and at the very top the birds create a “spiritual canopy” in the sky.

The evening paired with the opening of the exhibition and the lecture was a true delight. As a member of the audience I was treated to behind the scenes stories from Kahlhamer’s studio walls, interesting tidbits of knowledge from Gaylord Torrence in regards to American Indian Art, along with the incredible stories of Bruce Hartman about purchasing works for the Nerman Museum from Kahlhamer. It was with some regret that the night came to an end but I know that I will be back to the installation over the next few weeks to see what little details and nuances I might have missed the first time.

The exhibition runs until July 21, 2013 and will be open this weekend! So, take your family and friends for a fun and free event and make sure to stop in to see Bowery Nation.

Marissa Flynn

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Deuschle_Cathy_Irrational Exuberance_EX_5_13May 22, 2013
The motifs for this art came from many sources including history painting, dreams, poetry and perception. I often cannibalized my own previous work. For example, I fit older paintings and drawings into the assemblages and collaged on top of previous drawings. My methods were many and I wish to touch on a few.

The two large collages began with a single drawing. I then made more or less random gestural marks with acrylic paint on many types of paper. I searched for marks in my paper stash that roughly corresponded with lines and shapes in the drawing, tore these out and glued them on. After many layers and changes, I cobbled together something I could live with. This process made for a very oblique and yet, at times, illuminating way into the work.

The hands are all casts of my right hand done by my left hand. The intention was to create a curiosity shop of common hand signs. The basic media for these are plaster gauze, mulberry paper, and encaustic medium. Other materials include moss, steel wool, thread, led light, and rose petals. Encaustic paint and medium covers other work here including eggs and the ubiquitous yet soon to be obsolete phone book.

The wings are a by-product that comes from my husband’s hunting. They are gloriously complex and profoundly symbolic. Watching bird activity enriches my life tremendously yet my knowledge of birds is disproportionately scanty. This work represents my awe and stupidity of these creatures, and my reverence and sorrow for the ones who were shot. The wings are covered with powdered pigment.

The assemblages and broom paintings allowed me to meditate on and explore perplexing topics such as the afterlife, dream states, sex, power and the aging process. I tried to get as close to the mystery as I could by combining found and transformed objects, perceptual work and purely imaginative painting and drawing.

Cathy Deuschle

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The-AviaryMay 13, 2013

My art is a prayer; a singular devotion; a deep invocation. I create prints, paintings, and drawings to honor family, friends, and personal heroes. My work is concerned with the intersection between life and memory and how time and chance affect us all.

My pieces are structured around figures such as children, dancers and ballplayers, surrounded by objects that often contain a personal meaning: For example, I consider the birds in my pictures to be not unlike a Greek chorus – commenting on the figures lives, offering encouragement or casting aspersions. I also believe that flight is a great metaphor for change, although in my work it is usually the fish that do the flying. When I was a child, my older sister and I used to hunt for frogs and salamanders. These elusive creatures remain for me a sign not only of youth, but also of the search for one’s identity. There is no singular meaning for any of my pieces – They contain many stories and are more than the sum of their parts. One illustration of this would be the screen print, The Aviary, which was inspired by my father; his childhood hero Ted Williams; and my Great Aunt Clara, whose nursing home contained a large, enclosed bird house.

I create my works painstakingly and as beautifully as I can in order to affirm the lives of those I revere and to give my own meaning. This is especially evident in the graphic work: Screen-printing is at its core a repetitive and ritualistic medium – Before an individual color can be printed a new stencil must be created or additional work done to an existing stencil. I hand paint my stencils without the use of photo- mechanical processes, with each screen print consisting of between 300 and 400 separate color applications, and each single edition of prints taking upwards of a year to complete.

Todd Peterson

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ExcitingThinkers May 4, 2013
On a snowy Thursday evening this week, I braved the unusually cold and damp May evening and headed over the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art for the first in the series of lectures titled “Exciting Thinkers in Art”. I was pleased to sit in on a lecture and discussion with the President of the Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts, Joel Wachs.

The evening proved to be a wealth of information in many ways, but in particular in explaining the evolution and purpose of The Andy Warhol Foundation of the Visual Arts. It was remarkable to hear Joel state that the Warhol Foundation has since 1987 facilitated the funding of over a quarter of a BILLION dollars in grants. But I get ahead of myself! Let me give you a little background on the foundation and how it came to be.

When Andy Warhol died unexpectedly on February 22, 1987, he had a will in place that dictated that his entire estate and works should be used to create a foundation dedicated to the “advancement of the visual arts”. As the right people came together in the early days, they began to formulate a grantmaking program that ensured Warhol’s open-minded spirit would continue to have a profound impact on the visual arts for generations to come. Since the formulation, the Warhol Foundation has focused on supporting the creation, presentation and documentation of contemporary visual arts.

I suppose this organization creates a deep fascination in me since they chose to include the Kansas City Artists Coalition as one of the first recipients of the Warhol Initiative Grants in 1990. This grant and the continued support of the Warhol Foundation over the years has aided the Coalition in keeping our exhibitions and events open to the public as well as allow us the opportunity to embark on our newest endeavor, Kansas City International Residency at the Artists Coalition. It is important that foundations and institutions like the Warhol Foundation stay in place for the continued support of artists, the arts and arts organizations across the United States.

So in short I encourage you to attend this lecture series as there are two more over the next few months at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Go enjoy and learn a little something while you are at it!

Marissa Flynn

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Crossover Kansas City – July 2012 KCAC in Mallin Gallery
Cara Jaye, Melanie Yazzie, Miguel Rivera, Michael Schonhoff, Janet Simpson, Patricia Villalobos Echaverria

May 2, 2013
We are excited to announce that Miguel Rivera, chair of the printmaking department at the Kansas City Art Institute and a KCAC board member, will be participating in a collaborative project with internationally acclaimed Proyecto ACE in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

For the last three months, Miguel has been working with Alicia Candiani, Director at Proyecto ACE and Adriana Moracci, master printer at Proyecto ACE, to create Crossover Kansas City – Buenos Aires. The three have been working with artists from different nationalities based in Argentina around the idea of giving and receiving images as gifts. Each artist participating in the project gives an image that they have created and in return receive an image created by Miguel. The artists then take their newly received image and begin working with it to create a hybrid image that was created by two artists.

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Crossover Kansas City – July 2012 KCAC in Mallin Gallery

From May 15 – 21, Miguel will be traveling to Proyecto ACE in Argentina to conduct a workshop at the Proyecto’ace International Artists in Residence Program. At the same time, The Crossover Kansas City – Buenos Aires will be introduced during the 4th International Printmaking Biennial organized by the Peruvian-North American Cultural Institute, where Miguel will continue to conduct workshops and cultivate relationships in order to continue the tradition of collaboration and the Crossover project beyond Argentina and Kansas City.

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Crossover Kansas City – July 2012 KCAC in Mallin Gallery

For more information on this Crossover project please visit the Proyecto’ACE site.

Marissa Flynn

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Julian-indoor-pic April 27, 2013
Art Tasting with Julian

This week I had the pleasure of attending a discussion series held with current director Julian Zugazagotia called “Art Tasting With Julian”. This particular evening Julian, the fifth director of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, had invited Marc Wilson, the museums fourth director up until 2010, to join him on stage to revisit the evolution of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The two regaled the audience with behind the scenes stories and histories of the Nelson-Atkins from its fledgling days to its current position in today’s elite museum community across the world.

It was a pleasure to watch the two directors sit on stage as if old friends and share with us the story of how the museum and its internationally recognized collection came to be. We heard stories of Japanese surrender to Laurence Sickman (the museums director from 1953-1977) during WWII. Sickman was simply trying to enter into to Japan before anyone else to discuss purchasing artworks! We learned about acquisitions of some of the most treasured pieces of artwork that are now currently in the collection. Would you believe that the internationally acclaimed Seated Guanyin Bodhisattva piece that currently sits in the Nelson-Atkins Asian art wing was sitting in a Chinese art dealer’s back yard covered in snow!?! So much snow in fact that they had to take a broom and sweep it off in order to see what the piece was. The stories seemed to help encourage the audience to remember what a treasure we have here in Kansas City and to remind us that what sits right here in our midst is truly worth taking a second or even third look at over the years. As Julian reminded us, you never step in the same river twice, just as you never see the same painting twice. We are always in a different place in our lives when we come to these works of art and we will always see something new and inspiring each time we visit.

As an added bonus, KCPT was recording the antics and tales to be broadcast this fall as part of a series that The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is participating in for the first time this year. So for any of you that might have missed the chance to sit in on this particular event or any of the others in the “Art Tasting With Julian” series there is no need to worry because you can always catch them very soon on KCPT, and I definitely encourage you to mark your calendars and set your DVR’s for this one in particular.

Marissa Flynn

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Max Belanger Complementary Leigh Rosenberg Earnest Memorial Fund Scholarship Recipient

Max Belanger
Complementary
Leigh Rosenberg Earnest Memorial Fund Scholarship Recipient

April 13, 2013
Juror, Amy Kligman awarded the Leigh Rosenberg Earnest Memorial Fund Scholarships on Friday, April 12th during the opening reception of the Undergraduate Collage Student Exhibition. We are happy to announce that Ian Cochran and Max Belanger, both of the Kansas City Art Institute were recipients. Make sure to swing by the gallery. The show will be up until April 26. See you soon!

Max Belanger Untitled Leigh Rosenberg Earnest Memorial Fund Scholarship Recipient

Max Belanger
Untitled
Leigh Rosenberg Earnest Memorial Fund Scholarship Recipient

 

Ian Cochran Untitled Form Leigh Rosenberg Earnest Memorial Fund  Scholarship Recipient

Ian Cochran
Untitled Form
Leigh Rosenberg Earnest Memorial Fund Scholarship Recipient

Ian Cochran Untitled Form  Volumes I, II, III Leigh Rosenberg Earnest Memorial Fund  Scholarship Recipient

Ian Cochran
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Volumes I, II, III
Leigh Rosenberg Earnest Memorial Fund Scholarship Recipient

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Interesting articles by Jerry Saltz, River Market Regional Exhibition juror.

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Saltz on the Death of the Gallery Show
Vulture, March 30, 2013
By Jerry Saltz

“There is no “the” art world anymore. There have always been many art worlds, overlapping, ebbing around and through one another. Some are seen, others only gleaned, many ignored. “The” art world has become more of a virtual reality than an actual one, useful perhaps for conceptualizing in the abstract but otherwise illusory.
Once we adjust to that, we can work within the new reality.”

Jerry Saltz on the Outsider Art Fair — and Why There’s No Such Thing As ‘Outsider’ Art
Vulture, February 1, 2013
By Jerry Saltz

“Millions of viewers and thousands of nascent artists are being denied the chance to see some of the best work made in the last 100 years simply because it was once decided that to be an artist meant having had preapproved training. It’s a self-perpetuating false distinction, like the one art historian Linda Nochlin famously wrote about in 1971, asking, “Why have there been no great women artists?” The answer to this brilliant rhetorical question, of course, was that to be a “great artist,” one had first to be trained in the academy via drawing the nude. Since women weren’t allowed into academe and were considered too pure to look upon the nude, they couldn’t be seen as “great.”

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Humphrey_Kwanza_Man With Starfish_EX_3_13_webMarch 27, 2013
I have been working on this latest series for just about a year. All of my paintings start with a drawing where I figure out composition and sometimes tone. I continue too make adjustments on the canvas but for the most part I have a good shell to work with. I start with a light sketch then lay down color, rarely mixing on the palette, letting the colors mix optically.

I began this series in a jazz theme, capturing the emotions and essence of the person. This was a way for me to get my feel for painting again after an extended period of time off. It was a natural progression for me to move to people I’ve met or have seen. I try not to create a representation per se, but rather capture the life of each individual through an expression, eye position or angle. I am interested in the story of people just below the surface rather than the mask we present to the world. Through that interpretation I hope to show the realness in all of us, and that’s something we can all recognize on some level.

Kwanza Humphrey

 

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March 22, 2013
When people first see my work, they often ask me how I get my glazes. Or they may remark on their affinity for raku pottery. My response is to let them know that what they’re looking at is neither glazed nor raku but the result of a technique that is loosely termed “smoke fired”. Why I have chosen to reject glazing my work may be summed up in the words of Robert Frost: “Something there is that does not love a wall.”

Let me explain: I love working with clay – its yielding fullness in the raw state; its suppleness on a potter’s wheel; the subtle sheen of a burnished surface. My hands have guided and coaxed a form into existence in a series of almost ritualistic steps. To then encase a piece in a wall of glass strikes me as a betrayal of this relationship. Instead, I leave my pots unglazed and surround them with a combination of minerals and organic combustibles, then set them on fire. As the fire burns and the heat rises, beautiful transformations occur. Smoke and fumes dance across and are absorbed into the body of the pieces. I don’t use glazes. Much better to leave the surface open and porous, receptive to the marks and colors that result from the firing process, open and receptive to the touch of a hand.

Jean Wender

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Nugent_laura_the-imposter_EX_3_13-webMarch 18, 2013
Every Day is Not the Same is a collection of my most recent paintings.  This body of work represents some of the largest individual pieces of my career as well as a genuine transition to abstraction.

Before these paintings came to be, I had been making smaller works with a pattern element that usually relied on some sort of imagery for subject.  Next, I moved to making work that was only based on pattern in the way that a quilt or textile might be.  In fact, to explain myself, I often said that I intended ambiguity with those works. I wanted viewers to not know that they were paintings until they got up close and investigated. I laugh now as I acknowledge that most of those viewers seemed disappointed when they realized that my work wasn’t quilted or woven. It was only painted.

Understanding that I had moved past making a painting that was “like something else” was greatly liberating. I am creating works that do not represent anything but themselves. Now, I am loosening my brushstrokes, scratching and scraping into surfaces, and happily living with the results of falling paint.

The title of this show refers to the name I gave one of the first paintings I made in this body of work, three years ago. At the time, I was working for long stretches on paintings with muted color relationships and vague pattern elements. I started noticing how repetitive my studio practice was: waking at the same time, walking the same route with my dog, eating the same meals, even wearing the same studio clothes made stiff by acrylic paint. I became intrigued by the slightest variation in my painting. Those weren’t patterns at all! There were no straight lines or perfect squares. Each slight wobble of an edge made by my hand became an incredible relief, an area of interest to my own eyes. I couldn’t predict how the pattern would fall apart, but always felt satisfied that it did.  And, in turn, the seeming sameness of every day was made bearable.

Thank you to the Kansas City Artists Coalition for the opportunity to show in this beautiful space.

Laura Nugent

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ART AUCTION RAISES $80,000

The KCAC 30th Annual Art Benefit Auction was held on Saturday, February 16, 2013. Auction art sales and donations were a new record, totaling over $80,000 for 2013!!!

Thirty years is an amazing number, our patrons, artists and volunteers, make it  possible.  Thank you!

Great thanks to our Honorary Chairperson, Dr. Jacqueline Chanda, President of The Kansas City Art Institute. She went beyond the call of duty by helping obtain our featured artist, Wilbur Niewald. KCAC was honored to have both in attendance at our celebration of the art, the SweethART Reception.

With each purchase, patrons:
• Obtained a wonderful piece of artwork,
• Created exposure for the donating artists,
• And helped KCAC continue its mission to promote contemporary visual arts.

NOW, is the perfect time to mark your calendars for Saturday, February 15, 2014, the 31st Annual KCAC Art Benefit Auction. This is KCAC’s annual “MUST NOT MISS” event! Be aware that the “Buyout” option is an increasingly popular purchase alternative each year. KCAC had 22 buyouts in 2013. Be sure to visit KCAC early and procure your favorites as a “Buyout.”

With your investment in KCAC, you are making a DIFFERENCE in our community!

Jefferson Blair
2013 KCAC Auction Chairperson

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