by: McKay Stangler
The writer Annie Dillard has argued that the things we should pay the most attention to, whether in art or everyday life, are not the things that we make an effort to seize but rather the things that seize us: those sights and sounds that produce the doubletake, the second glance, the softly murmured, "well that's interesting".
It's a lovely sentiment to keep in mind as one explores an art museum or gallery, as I did last week at the Saint Louis Art Museum. I had gone during a free afternoon to see an old favorite, Picasso's Mandolin and Vase of Flowers, but found my attention arrested instead by a Giacometti sculpture just around the corner: Hands Holding the Void (Invisible Object). I don't normally go for the Swiss sculptor's emaciated works, and I can't even quite explain why this one so caught my eye, but there I was, rooted in place and head cocked, feeling something like total reevaluation of my prior opinions about Giacometti. The Picasso, though still beautiful, seemed somehow dim in comparison.
If you find yourself with a similarly free afternoon now through January 6, the Prairie Village Arts Council heartily encourages you to stop by the R.G. Endres Gallery at City Hall to see the current art on display by Jack Stemm, Anne Nye, and Grant Charpentier. The latter is a glass artist from Emporia and the former two are photographers, but all three seem to be masters of provoking the doubletake that causes you to see an old thing -- a familiar building, a wooden ship, an entomological form -- in a new light. The works of all three are excellent examples of Eliot's dictum that the "goal of all our exploring" will be to "arrive where we started/And know the place for the first time."
Stemm has a particular eye for majestic outdoor shots, as in Yosemite Tunnel View:
But his photos need not all be the sort of "majestic" we associate with Sierra Club calendars; his Symphony in the Flint Hills Cowboy is a sterling example of art which uses a figure to represent an idea or historical trope. In this case, the silhouetted figure is a stand-in for an entire American mythos. Stemm's Seeking Illumination likewise uses the solitary figure to embody a quest or search.
But Stemm's photos use solitude amid the masses, the way Caillebotte did in his urban series, rather than simply showcasing a disembodied individual.
Nye's Locked in Place is another example: what seems to be a simple depiction of a weathered bicycle comes to seem, after a few minutes, rather more a depiction of the wall behind the bicycle: the focus shifts, as you consider it, away from the primary object and toward the setting.
All told, the three artists whose work is showing through January 6 excel in a unifying way: by making us sit up a bit straighter, wondering how you had missed what they are making so very clear right now. It's a tough balancing act for an artist, placing the mundane in an entirely new context and framework, and all three handle it skillfully. Please visit this excellent collection soon!
Through January 8, 2023
Which do you like best? The portrait of the woman with braids or the redhead thinking? The colorful depiction of a stack of plates or the woman holding a keyboard? Do you prefer the painting of soothing blue flowers or the haunting gas station scene with a kiddie car?
Hard choices, indeed, to select a personal favorite out of the 60-plus pieces on display at the Prairie Village Arts Council's State of the Arts 2022 exhibit.
The arts enthusiasts have spoken though, and the “People’s Choice Award” was awarded to Non Trattati (Blessed be the Fruit) by Katie Wampler for garnering the most votes during the opening week of the show.
Ms. Trevethan awarded two Merit Awards in the show: Carol Kiefer Johnson's For the Birds and John Keeling's The Gaze.
"Carol Johnson’s bold use of color, exuberant pattern and expressive style lends a unique twist to both her original painting and her recreations of iconic images. A self-taught artist, Carol's style has been honed over the years. She infuses her figurative art with a passion for the subject, as well as lightheartedness and humor." ~artist statement
John Keeling likes to "capture the essence of [his] subject. [He] seeks out both lost and found edges, intentionally balancing controlled definition to help you see with blurred edges to let you enter. In this way, [he] invites the viewer to join [him]." ~artist statement
The State of the Arts 2022 Honorable Mentions are (in no particular order):
From juror, Shannon Trevethan:
"It was a pleasure and an honor to judge this years Prairie Village State of the Arts. I was delighted to be presented with so many thought provoking, well-executed pieces. As director of an art center and an artist myself, I’ve spent many years analyzing my own work and examining the work of others. This was, however, my first time in the position of judge.
"I approached the selection process with the mindset that the State of the Arts is a reflective statement on the state of the world. I felt this in almost every piece submitted, whether it related to culture, humanity, or the spaces we inhabit. The work selected for this show gave me insight into the artists’ perception and experiences. Some of the work was deeply moving, other pieces were chosen for their beauty, ingenuity, or for their proficient demonstration of artistic process."
All of the artists included in the show produced their works in the last two years. Many of the artists were in attendance at the Artists Reception held at 6:00pm on Friday, September 9 in the R.G. Endres Gallery at the Prairie Village City Hall, (7700 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS).
Running from now until October 28th, State of the Arts is one of the two juried arts exhibitions currently mounted by the Prairie Village Arts Council. Abstract works, portraits, landscapes, and still life works are on display, along with mosaics, woodcuts and fabric works. The subjects range from lakes to limes, flowers to Fiesta ware. Be sure to go check it out in person!
And remember: All pieces of artwork are for sale! See Barb Fisher at the City Clerk's office about purchase.
Images Gallery + Prairie Village Arts Council
by: Nancy Kalikow Maxwell
Most people looking at puffy clouds in the sky imagine seeing animals or birds or faces. Few would picture the puffs overhead as a human spine. But that’s evidently what artist Marilyn Lyons must have seen because she titled her photograph of a cloud formation, “Backbone of the Storm.” The Lyons piece imagining touching clouds as a body part is just one of 24 creative works included in the “Images Art Gallery Member Show” at the Meadowbrook Park Clubhouse Gallery (9101 Nall Avenue, Prairie Village, KS 66207).
The “Images Art Gallery Show” was made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Prairie Village Arts Council and Johnson County Parks and Recreation District. All of the works included in this exhibition were produced by regional artists who belong to the Images Art Gallery. This member-owned, Overland Park based facility is one of the oldest cooperative art galleries in the Kansas City area. The organization, which has been promoting and educating about the fine arts since 1988, strives to foster the development of local artists in the community and provides a venue for the sale of outstanding work produced by emerging and mature regional artists.
The works selected for the Meadowbrook Park show include watercolors, photographs, glass and acrylic works. Some of the art is abstract, while others depict images ranging from Jim Kilmer’s Nova Scotia seaside to Steve Johnston’s Country Club Plaza to Dawn Thomas’ plants and poppies. Several artists, like Lyons, were inspired by looking up. Nancy Basinski calls her painting of trees “Gazing Upwards,” while Wanda K. Tyner produced glassworks entitled “Sunset” and “Rainbow Swirls.” To see what inspired all of the artists, the exhibit can be seen from now until September 30 during Clubhouse hours (Monday-Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm, Saturday and Sunday, 10:00am to 4:00pm).