Tag Archives: Art Galleries

Local Landscape

If you are intrigued by ceramics, you don’t have to wait until Forever for an engaging exhibit.

Cary Esser’s Lay of the Land at the Sherry Leedy Gallery (here in town) is another exploration of permanence and change.

In this exhibit Esser, Ceramics Chair at the Kansas City Art Institute, explores the relationship of clay to human history and shelter.

She has created these tiles by pushing clay into molds; the glazes are beautiful, though I haven’t really captured them here. The groupings suggest topography and landscape (and cityscape, too, I think.) While numbered to ease recreation of the installation, I am intrigued by the thought that they could be manipulated by the viewer. It seems an interesting manifestation of the artist’s intent and the viewer’s perception. Also, it’s always fun to build with blocks.
You can see Cary Esser’s Lay of the Land at the Sherry Leedy Gallery of Contemporary Art through October 30th.
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It’s All Here in Black and White

I was visiting with a friend recently and she mentioned that she’d like to update a traditional room. Make it a little fresher. A little younger. At the same time, she didn’t want it to look trendy or trying-too-hard.

I’ve always like the use of architectural prints.

Clean. Crisp. Graphic.

But I suggested using photographs instead. To give it a little bit of an edge. I wonder if that is what Bruno de Caumont has done above. With the rosette? It could be a drawing, of course.

Local photographer, Keith Davis, has stunning pieces capturing the architecture of many state capitals.

I’m not sure he’s photographed them all (and I guess I’m too lazy to find out) but it would be great to choose images from capitals that mean something to you. Or not, because I’m crazy about the first one here and I have absolutely no connection to Arkansas.
Images from top, Michael Smith, Houses, photography uncredited. I’m pretty sure this is right; no photo credit for page 24. Suzanne Kasler, Inspired Interiors, photography Erica George Dines; Albert Hadley, Albert Hadley, the Story of America’s Preeminent Interior Designer, photography by Mary E. Nichols (Megan says I am a Hadley Head – guilty); Bruno de Caumont, Elle Decor, April 2010, photgraphy by Simon Upton; remaining images via Dolphin Gallery by Keith Davis.
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First and Ten

Today is the first Friday of the month and in Kansas City that means that many of the local galleries are open for the art walk.

I stopped by the Belger Arts Center yesterday for a few reasons.  To begin, I like their story and their philosophy and their space.  Over the last few years I’ve appreciated so much the exhibits they’ve chosen and beyond that I like the people who are there.  The Belger is presenting a new show, “Beneath the Surface – Excavating the Belger Collection” in honor of its tenth anniversary.  The show features artists from the Belger’s permanent collection including William T. Wiley (above) who came in to install his “Nomad is an Island,” top.

William Christianberry’s work focuses on his growing up in Hale County, Alabama.

The exhibit includes his sculpture, paintings and photography which capture the essence of rural poverty and decay, the menace of the Ku Klux Klan and the humor of trade signs that grace the buildings of the region.

This suite by Terry Winters is particularly powerful and the Belger has developed a nice way of displaying this portfolio to showcase its original book form while being able to see the individual prints.

The show includes a few etching by Jasper Johns, a favorite of mine, and it was a treat to see them so closely.

And.  And, I hate to add these as also-rans which is so not the case, it was just that Mo Dickens and I were so busy talking and looking that I did not take pictures, but Renee Stout, Ed Ruscha, Robert Stackhouse, Viola Frey and Terry Allen are there as well.  Allen’s pieces are griping and wrenching in their raw post-Viet Nam ruminations.  They are painful and uncomfortable, still.

Information on the Belger, the full press release for the show and information about each of the artists are available on their site.  If you can’t make it down tomorrow night (and the weather – oh, my gosh – it should be terrific) the show runs through August 6th.

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Hauntingly Beautiful

Yesterday I went to the Dolphin Gallery with a friend.  I have deadlines swirling, both mine and the boys’, so I hope to be able to post more on this wonderful resource soon.  In the meantime, I am sharing my favorite piece, a photograph (top) by Terry Evans.

Evans photographed collections of flora and fauna from Chicago’s Field Museum that, I think, are stunningly beautiful.  You can see more of these pieces here, but certainly don’t miss her narrative on Specimen Work here.

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A Meandering Mind

I received a very thoughtful email on Friday from the Belger Art Gallery.  They were closed for our monthly art walk as they are preparing for Beneath the Surface – Excavating the Belger Collection. The exhibit, which opens March 5th, will feature rarely seen works by Terry Allen, William Christenberry, Viola Frey, Jasper Johns, Creighton Michael, Ed Ruscha, Robert Stackhouse, Renee Stout, William T. Wiley and Terry Winters.

I was enchanted when I visited the Belger for their Jasper Johns show three years ago.  They have the largest collection of Johns’s work, and while that was really something, they also have Mo Dickens to tell you all about it.  Mr. Dickens is in their employ and he knows a heck of a lot, but when he tells you about it you feel more like you’re sitting on the front porch having a lemonade than getting a lecture about art.   When I received the email I responded and asked Mr. Dickens if he could reserve a chair for me in front of the Johns pieces.  There will be only a few rare etchings at this show (they were not part of the last show), but he told me of an exhibit he saw this summer.

Mural, a work that Peggy Guggenheim commissioned Jackson Pollack to create for her New York townhouse, was on display at the Figge Museum in Davenport, Iowa.  The piece belongs to the University of Iowa (it was a gift from Ms. Guggenheim.)  Mr. Dickens informed me that a thoughtful soul had donated two Eames lounge chairs to be placed in front of the piece so visitors could sit and enjoy.  And see.  Rather than, say, strolling by and snapping a pic with a phone.  When Mural travels the chairs travel with it.

Pollock struggled with the piece and finally pulled things together at the last minute.  The show!  The client!  Everything banging around in his head and then he painted.  And turned his work in on time.  Which I like in a person as I am deadline driven myself.  Myths have sprung up around it – it was cut down to fit Guggenheim’s wall, it was painted in a day – but the canvas does not support these tales.

Pollack said of the piece, “It was a stampede…[of] every animal in the American West, cows and horses and antelopes and buffaloes. Everything is charging across that goddamn surface.”  Seems that would warrant taking a moment to stop and wonder.

Pollock, as many of you know, was a student of Thomas Hart Benton, a native Missourian.

Mural, completed in 1944, was a turning point for Pollock and American art as a whole; he began his drip paintings in 1947.

Top two images of pieces by Jasper Johns in the Belger collection from here, next two images of Mural courtesy of the University of Iowa,  Pollock in his studio from Time Out Chicago, Persephone by Thomas Hart Benton courtesy of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

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