Works in Progress and Upcoming Shows

Here are two new art pieces that I plan to finish for the Final Friday Art Party on March 25, 2011, at the Hobbs-Taylor lofts in Lawrence, Kansas.

Additional upcoming exhibits:

–My clayboard (also called scratchboard) pieces will be included in an exhibit of three artists who work in black and white, at the Carnegie Cultural Center in Ottawa, Kansas, in August and September, 2011

–My art will be exhibited at Wheatfield’s Bakery in Lawrence, Kansas, mid-October through mid-December

Help save the Kansas Arts Commission

Kansas’s Governor Sam Brownback has signed an executive order to eliminate the Kansas Arts Commission.  In his plan the Kansas Historical Society will be responsible for carrying out arts programs, and a private foundation will be formed.  This will go into effect on July 1, 2011, unless the order is overturned by the Kansas legislature.  This plan is bad for Kansas and bad for the arts.  Please join me in advocating for keeping the Kansas Arts Commission as it is, at the current level of funding. Here are some helpful links:

Kansas Arts Commission: The KAC provides opportunities for the people of Kansas to experience, celebrate and value the arts throughout their lives. The KAC provides the arts to the people of Kansas through grants, professional development programs and leadership initiatives.

Kansas Citizens for the Arts: This new grassroots organization provides statewide leadership in promoting the interests of the citizens of Kansas in advocacy, funding and education for the arts. At this website you will find information and links to help you participate in advocating for the Kansas Arts Commission.

Imagine Kansas Without Art: A grassroots effort to rally support for the arts in Kansas by imagining what Kansas would be like without art.

“Life Implicates Art,” an essay about how to re-think arts advocacy by Arlene Goldbard

Linked in Spirit at the Percolator

I enjoyed showing my exhibit Linked in Spirit at the Percolator in Lawrence, Kansas in May and June of 2010. 

Here are some of the art pieces that I showed in the exhibit, including clayboard drawings, mixed-media collages, and mosaics.

Look for additional images from my exhibit under Pages: Portfolio: Linked in Spirit

I painted mural-figures related to my art on a movable wall. The figures directed people to one of my favorite pieces, and led viewers around to the other side of the wall.

On the other side I made a collage of photos, sketchbook entries, and memorabilia that represented some of the ways I find inspiration for my art.

I held an all-ages art making workshop at the Percolator where participants experimented with materials and made clayboard drawings, mosaics, and mixed-media collages.

I’m looking forward to showing this exhibit again, including new work, at the Yost Art Gallery at Highland Community College (Highland, Kansas) in November of 2010.

Linked in Spirit, Bethel College, Mar. 5 – Apr. 2

Linked In Spirit: An Exhibition of Mixed-media Collages, Clayboard Drawings, and Mosaics is on display at the Fine Arts Center gallery, Bethel College, North Newton, KS, March 5 – April 2, 2010.  Hrs. M – F 9 am – 5 pm and Su 1 – 5 pm. This exhibit will be at the Percolator, Lawrence, KS, in May.

The Latest

January

I wanted to make a piece of art based on the iconic image of blackbirds sitting in a winter tree. I photographed the perfect tree during a visit to Newton, KS, this winter, and used that photo as a point of departure for this piece. The piece, a mixed-media collage using fabric, embroidery thread, and acrylic paint, is 2′ x 2′.

The Experience of Farmers

During the Hard Times (sold)

The “Experience of Farmers” was a series of mixed-media and clayboard works, exhibited in various locations (Kansas, Virginia, Canada) between 2000 and 2002.

ARTIST STATEMENT FROM “THE EXPERIENCE OF FARMERS”

The “Experience of Farmers” is an art project that uses pictures and words to explore the experiences of farmers at a difficult time (1999-2000). The project developed out of concerns about the farm crisis and how this crisis is affecting farm families, rural communities, and the broader society. Low commodity prices are squeezing many independent farmers out of farming, and this project explores the joys and struggles of farmers, and what society loses when independent farmers lose their livelihood.

Since July of 1999, I have interviewed and tape-recorded the voices of forty-two farmers, farm family members, and farmer advocates for this project. Quotes transcribed from the interviews are included directly in the artwork, or on text panels beside the artwork. Themes in the project include: experiences of the countryside, the joys of farming, the farm family, the experience of drought, the beauty of rural Kansas, the perseverance of farmers, discrimination against black farmers, the erasure of independent business and agriculture, and the effects of corporate mergers and multinational corporations on rural communities.

In my artwork I enjoy creating rich surface textures, careful compositions, and fanciful images to capture moments in the stories — from mundane to whimsical to socially urgent. To make the black and white drawings I use an art material called clay board. This material includes a thin layer of white clay covered with black ink, affixed to a Masonite surface. I scratch off the ink with a sharp tool to create white lines, cross-hatching, and textures. The collages I make include a combination of materials such as photos, magazine pictures, embroidery thread, cloth, and paint.

Collaboration with farmers and organizations was a fundamental part of “The Experience of Farmers.” I collaborated with eight Lutheran churches from Kansas – from Belleville, Beloit, Concordia, Courtland, Glasco, Mankato, Norway, and Scandia. The churches, through the City of Glasco, provided matching funds for a Grassroots Grant from the Kansas Arts Commission to fund interviews with farmers from each church. I believe the churches were interested in this project as an outreach project offering farmers a chance to talk about their concerns in a way that would reach an audience beyond their local communities. I was also granted a month-long residency at the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center in Minnesota to work on the project. Assistance in locating other farmers for interviews was provided through Jerry Jost of the Kansas Rural Center, friends and family. Farmers from the Newton, Kansas, area and Lawrence, Kansas, area were also interviewed for this project, as well as farmers from Nebraska and Minnesota.

“The Experience of Farmers” has been exhibited in libraries, coffee shops, peace centers, galleries, conferences, the state capitol, and other spaces in the Kansas communities of Topeka, Lawrence, Newton, Concordia, Kansas City, and Winnipeg, Manitoba.