First Friday Opening
March 7, 2014 from 6pm-9pm
- Desert Poem for T.E. Lawrence no.1, 2013, 80" x 30"
- Tudor Rose, 2013, 12" x 12"
- Gagik Abbas of Kar, 2012, 39" x 35" Collection of Sharon Martin, Omaha NE
Icons and Elizabethans
March 7 - April 26, 2014
Tudor And Jacobean Portraits
There is a line in a film I watched recently called 'Finding Forrester' in which Sean Connery's character tells his protege that the way to a woman's heart is "an unexpected gift; unexpected time."
You might say that a way to a painter's heart is "unexpected inspiration; unexpected time." A casual visit in Devon, England to the ancestral home of Sir Francis Drake, the English explorer plunderer and naval warfare genius, led to discovery of Tudor and Jacobean painting, much of it anonymous and hidden away amongst the nick-nacks of Elizabethan stately homes. I have always been drawn to medieval painting from a time I like to call "Pre-Art". By this I mean art before the 15th Century when it became thoroughly connected to trade, commerce and the cultural demands of society via the Church and the monarchy. Hence my immersion in icon painting and the beginnings of what we call art.
The paintings that have influenced these works on display here, are as mysterious and unworldly as Icons. They portray a lost world of which we know very little, passing down through centuries, the romance, intrigue, cruelty, bravado and sheer invention of a time of discovery that is all but lost to us as we hurtle down the information superhighway from the comfort of our homes.
Painting seems as good a medium as any to find a way to hang on to the forgotten or overlooked past, and to remember the achievements and failures that have shaped us. They are only glimpses of what may have been---portals, if you like, into a world away from the constant flow of logical information in our time and perhaps a reminder that there are still some things out there that are not known.
~ Steve Joy
Born in Plymouth, England, in 1952, Joy served in the Royal Air Force from 1968 to 1975, visiting museums and cultural sights on his furloughs. In 1975, he enrolled in art school in London. His earliest works — oil paintings on canvas, some with three-dimensional projections — reflected his desire to escape from the mundane by continued travel. Later, inspired by American Abstract Expressionists such as Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko, Joy sought to break away from the formal aspects of contemporary British painting. Realizing the inherent limitations of abstraction, however, Joy noted, “The only way abstract painting had any chance of survival was to take on the great issues of history.” By a combination of travel and painting, he has made a career of this personal journey. He is committed to the idea of spiritual abstraction and the development of painting and its history from the 15th century to today. Influences from the past include the art of Duccio, Giotto, Velasquez, and Matisse.
Joy has studied and worked on three continents, in Japan, Belgium, Italy, Norway, Greece, Spain, and now, more permanently, in Omaha, where he first arrived as the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts’ curator in 1998 and where he is one of a group of artists with international reputations working in Omaha.
Joy’s technique and his choice of media have evolved over the years. He creates using rich, saturated colors, squares of gold and silver leaf, and wax. His paintings also reflect a vivid sense of geometry and proportion. Several are punctuated with words as part of the composition. The totality reflects Joy’s fascination with exotic cultures, religions, and the great religious works of the history of art, in particular Orthodox icon painting and western European medieval works.
If I Could Return to My Grandma's House, 2006, digital print, 80" x 18.5"
When a Dream is Not a Dream
March 7 - April 26, 2014
I am a Chinese artist, and my art is mostly from my understanding and my cognition about the world, especially from my 30-years military service experience. The duty and responsibility of being a soldier has differentiated me from other women artists, and led me to care more about the society where we live. I strongly believe that art should have connection to our society, so in my recent works, I have illustrated war, environmental issues, children issues and other type of problems nationwide and worldwide by my art. I wish I could use art to let people think, to let people raise questions, so people will learn to care about what is going on around them. In my mind, art should be meaningful and practical to the world. I really appreciate Leedy-Voulkos Art Center offering me the opportunity to exhibit my works, and the theme of the show is called “When a Dream is Not a Dream”. All the works contain my memories of the past and my unique experience from the military, such as the flying children’s clothes, the gun strapped by vines, the word “love” on a laptop keyboard, the maintains covered in white and a lot of “if” and question mark in some images… The work looks like visions that appear in one’s dream that sometimes do not queue in a consistent order. You can feel the dream, but they will fade away if you try to touch. All the visions in my head sometimes make me confused, anxious and even sentimental, which let me wish that I could have a better dream from the past. As we know, art can help us preserve memories no matter how beautiful, crucial, unstable or uncertain they are. I believe these memories can also help us to better understand what has happened in the past, and then let us think about more about our future.
Interview by Anders Gustafsson
KCAI Undergrads Underground
While growing up, open world video games’ active, non-linear, and goal-oriented nature shaped the way I saw and experienced the world. The world and its landscapes had become a symbol for seeking out personal goals and unknown opportunities while developing your character. With the regular use of technology in our lives, it is not surprising that it has not only changed the way we think about things but also the way we do things with or without it. I prefer using both digital and analog tools and processes to create this loving, symbiotic relationship that discusses today’s constant back-and-forth between reality and the digital. Efficient ways of organizing information (such as default grids, intersecting planes or shapes, and tile-able textures) are common in video games for their practical purposes, but they are used in my work to call to mind the digital. By combining landscapes with this digital language, my work emotes enthusiasm to control the future and nature, itself.
I am interested in the dark sweetness of the mind, and how external choices humans make in their day-to-day life affect their internal worlds. Creativity, play, and imagination are vital components to my artwork. Taking objects from the external world and reworking them to the point where they become uniquely Olivia is very important; it is important for me to experience and think about otherworldliness not just in art but also in life. I am influenced by raw emotion and true action, human action, and human mistake. I make work that makes me want to cry, and this makes me feel more alive. I do the things I do, because crying is pinnacle of human emotion.
Sonie Ruffin, Legacy
II, 2013, fabric
This exhibit explores the idea of
women artists as superheroines who themselves and through theirartwork evoke the
strength, courage, and resilience of the empowered woman.
February 7 - March 29, 2014
explores the concept of superheroines and features local artists Michelle
Beasley, Nedra Bonds, Nicole Emanuel, Ritchie Kaye, Eugenia Ortiz, and Sonie
Ruffin. These women are not only themselves activ-ists, advocates, and change
makers in the community, but also create art and imagery that evokes the
strength courage, and resilience of the empowered woman. These Wonder Women
artists have told stories, raised awareness, and given a voice to women making
art in Kansas City: Textile artist Nedra Bonds uses her quilts as a tool for
social change, advocating for civil rights, women’s rights, and environmental
rights. Sonie Ruffin’s quilts tell stories of the African American experience
and remind us of the multicultural world we live in and a past we shouldn’t
forget. Eugenia Ortiz is an outspoken advocate for survivors of gender violence
and has found a way through her own art to heal from her own experience with
violence. And Michelle Beasley, Ritchie Kaye, and Nicole Emanuel create work
that feature women and the female form, demonstrating the diversity of all women
and the unique qualities that make so many of them Wonder Wom-en. This exhibit
asks the audience to consider the wonder of the artist and her art, and to see
them as sheroes, freedom fighters, and women who kick butt!
1. A Birchfield Variation, 2011, Gouache,
Paper, 11" x 13.5"
2. Bilateral Negotiation, 2010, Gouache,
Graphite on Paper,
22" x 30”
3. Twins, 2009, Gouache,
Graphite on Paper,
11" x 14”
4. VHS or Autocolor?, 2009, Gouache,
8" x 7.5”
5. Widely Debated, 2008, Watercolor on
February 7 - March 29, 2014
Through my work I envision moments of experimentation and discovery. My current egg tempera paintings embody the quest for narrative alternatives. The history of science and optics inform my recent work, I am especially interested in failed theories and practices that have been out-moded by more prevalent discoveries. I like to imagine the technologies and scientific apparatuses that may be used today had these failed hypotheses held true.
What often interests me most about science is the story behind the research and discovery. Behind every theory and conclusion there is a human story, sometimes mundane, sometimes extraordinary.
Discovering, analyzing and understanding phenomena are practices that artists and scientists share, but differ in approach. The profoundly strange and wonderful ideas offered by quantum physics, alchemy and science-fiction find a visual adaptation in my work. Past and contemporary pseudo-sciences and super-natural investigations are also very intriguing as wellsprings for narrative potential.
Through a combination of visual and narrative experiments, I explore the nature of reality, history and personal experience and hope to create images that are at once captivating and anomalous.
Born in 1981 in Santa Fe, NM
Amanda Lechner is a visual artist who lives in New York and New Mexico.
Her studio practice primarily revolves around drawing and painting. Her current egg tempera paintings, images that are at once captivating and anomalous embody a quest for narrative alternatives. Lechner’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States. In 2012-13 she co-organized a traveling visual art exhibition featuring the work of 21 artists entitled “In Search Of…” that traveled to Rhodes College, University of Kansas and TSA Gallery, Brooklyn.
Lechner studied painting at the Kansas City Art Institute where she was awarded a BFA with Honors in 2003 and at the Rhode Island School of Design where she received her MFA in 2005.
She is a currently a lecturer at SUNY Purchase College - School of Art + Design.