James Brinsfield, Good Citizenship, 2008, Oil and enamel on canvas, 60 x 80".
Michael Sinclair, Grey House, Liberal, KS, 2008, ED 1/10, Archival pigmented print, 40 x 50".
Nate Fors, material witness (wrapper's delight), 2008, Fabric, enamel, plastic, rubber, glass, tape, lampshade, 19-1/2 x 39-1/2 x 10-3/4".
Archie Scott Gobber, Changeable, 2008, Latex and enamel on canvas, 35 x 80".
Interior detail of Dolphin on Liberty.
Jeremiah Ariaz, Fall (Lat. 43.106, Long. -70.054), 2006, ED 1/10, Chromogenic print, 40 x 50".
Wilbur Niewald, Kansas City, View of 12th St. Viaduct, 2008, Oil on canvas, 29 x 36".
Ke-Sook Lee, Apron #9, 2008, Thread tarlatan & pigment, 144 x 80".
Interior detail of Dolphin on Liberty.
Dolphin on Liberty, Group Exhibition
September 19-November 8, 2008
By MIKE MILLER
John O'Brien, gallerist at Dolphin, evolved into his role at the gallery. In the beginning, Dolphin was an art framing studio, owned by O'Brien — it still is. And before the sociological earthquake of development and marketing of a faux-bohemian urban destination rocked what came to be known as the Crossroads, the Dolphin was situated next to Leedy-Voulkos Art Center (then Leedy-Voulkos Art Gallery) on Baltimore, half a block from the Freight House restaurants, at that time an abandoned freight house).
In the last half of the 1990s O'Brien and Dolphin (gallery and framing studio) moved a block and a half north to the corner of Baltimore Avenue and Southwest Trafficway, where a surfeit of display window space allowed Dolphin and selected artists an additional arena of expression. Soon after this move some marketing (or branding) genius hit upon the not-so-original idea of all the galleries in "The Crossroads" synchronizing exhibition openings to the first Fridays of every month. Until then, galleries were individuated and scheduled their exhibitions and openings in a way that suited the gallerist and their artist's projects. From that time until well into the 2000 and aughts, the corner on which Dolphin stood, Baltimore and Southwest Boulevard, became something of street party central on First Fridays, a cheerleader-popular location, sure enough, but something of a distraction from viewing art, when one considers that a First Friday crowd can run anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 or more in a 10 square block area. For a period Dolphin, though continuing to change exhibitions, took a salon approach to the showing of art and ceased a regular schedule of openings.
In the last 12 months, O'Brien sold the building on the corner of Baltimore and the Trafficway to Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art that was smartly looking for satellite exhibition space in The Crossroads neighborhood to complement its flagship space on Institution Row in Midtown Kansas City. The deal for O'Brien was sweet enough that he was able to buy a large space on Liberty Street in the West Bottoms, two blocks due east of the front doors of the Livestock Exchange building. The space is, in fact, well more than twice the size of the space on Baltimore and the Trafficway.
Through this 16-year odyssey John O'Brien and gallery manager and co-gallerist Emily Eddins have kept a collective eye on Dolphin's raison d'etre: a group of artists whose work is as authentic and strong as anything that might be labeled "international art." That these artists in large part live and work in the neighborhood or region or have strong ties with it is something that speaks well of Kansas City as a center of cultlural and fine arts cross-fertilization and collaboration. It speaks well of artists who have not allowed the social dislocations of gentrification to distract them from their practices. It speaks also to a real-world marriage of art and commerce, an accepted custom in larger and longer-established cultural centers that is a signifier of everyone acting more grown-up.
Ask John O'Brien what it all means and he'll say, "None of this would be here if it weren't for Jim Leedy." Oh yeah, one of the more-often used epithets for The Crossroads, before it was The Crossroads, was Leedytown and Jim Leedy is still there, his gallery having become a not-for-profit art center.
The inaugural exhibition at Dolphin on Liberty is titled, simply enough, Dolphin on Liberty, Group Exhibition. Any title other than that would undercut the gemütlichkeit and nostalgischen qualities of the works in the show.
Artists in the Exhibition
Jeremiah Ariaz received his BFA from Kansas City Art Institute and his MFA from State University of New York at Buffalo. His art, including recent bodies of work A Spectacular Fall, Reconsidering Landscape, and Envisioning the Land explore the tension between nature and the consequence of Manifest Destiny’s impulse to dominate the land. He has exhibited, delivered papers, and spoken about his work both nationally and internationally. Work from his recent series, Reconsidering Landscape was included in the 2008 Focal Press book, Light and Lens: Photography in the Digital Age.
Ariaz has lived briefly on each coast — in Los Angeles and New York respectively — before settling in the South in 2006. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at Louisiana State University.
Ariaz, contributed for about a year to an earlier iteration of Review Kansas City's art magazine, before heading to Buffalo for his MFA. His photography is marked by subtle tropes that mixing perception of landscape with the made image, picturing a landscape mural in an environment in the process of being reclaimed by nature as in Fall (Lat. 43.106, Long. -79.054), 2006, shown in this exhibition.
Robin Beard (b. July 3, 1974, Manzanillo, Mexico; lives Kansas City, Missouri) received a Sculpture / Art History BFA at Kansas City Art Institute in 1999. She has shown in Robin Beard, Dolphin Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri. Collections including her work are Bank Midwest, 2007; George Terbovich, 2006; John Hoffman, 2006; and Johnson County Community College, 2005.
James Brinsfield joined the Kansas City Art Institute painting department as a lecturer in 1998. He teaches two studio classes: Language and Perception, investigating theories and ideas applicable to the aesthetics of painting, and a course in contemporary abstraction.
He is the son of an army officer and lived in Germany, Massachusetts and Washington state. Brinsfield received his B.F.A. from the University of Illinois at Chicago and attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for an M.F.A. in studio painting. He has had 14 one-person exhibits, including shows at Nancy Lurie Gallery and Asperger-Bischoff Gallery in Chicago, Feature Gallery, Anton Gallery in Washington, D.C., Acuna-Hansen Gallery, Los Angeles and numerous solo shows in Kansas City.
James Brinsfield was the first painter to receive a Charlotte Street Fund Award, an annual arts grant to Kansas City artists begun in 1997. His one-person exhibitions have been reviewed in Art in America, New Art Examiner, Art Papers, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post and The Kansas City Star. His paintings are in many private and public collections, including major works in the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art.
David Ford's work covers a range of disciplines and cultures, exemplifying an approach of culling and combining images and information from a variety of sources, always keenly aware of the context from which they are derived and the meaning they carry. He paints in reaction to outside forces — social, political, philosophical. His work confronts and challenges the viewers who must ask and answer their own questions.
Ford received a Charlotte Street Fund grant in 2001 and was recipient of The Tanne Foundation Award in 2004. He has exhibited and lectured extensively in the United States and internationally.
Primarily a painter, Nate Fors has worked with a great variety of media from drawing and painting to public sculpture, installation, digital prints and video. Reinvention and materials are critical to his methods.
Fors is a past recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Charlotte Street Fund Award, an Avenue of the Arts Foundation Award and a Missouri Visual Artists Biennial Fellowship. He has shown extensively in the Kansas City area as well as in Los Angeles and New York. His solo exhibition venues include the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Art in America, Annual 2001-2002 Guide, cited his Avenue of the Arts installation; toss, as one of the 23 best public art installations in the United States in the year 2000. In May 2004 Fors completed and installed lllooppi, a permanent outdoor sculpture commissioned by the city of Leawood, Kansas.
His paintings are in the collections of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Kemper Museum of Art and the Spencer Museum at the University of Kansas as well as numerous corporate and private collections.
Archie Scott Gobber (b. 1965, Warrensburg, Missouri), received is BFA in 1988 from Kansas City Art Institute.
Recent solo exhibitions have included In Loving Memory of You, Marty Walker Gallery, Dallas, Texas, 2008; Archie Scott Gobber is Trustworthy, Gallery 210, UM-St. Louis, Missouri, 2008; Ready or Not, Review Studio Exhibition Space, Kansas City, Missouri, 2006.
Recent group exhibitions have included KC in LA, Milo Gallery, Los Angeles, California, curated by Ashley McLean Emenegger, 2008; Satellite Exhibition, Miami, Florida, Bridge Art Fair, 2008; Lisa Flores and All Rise Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, curated by R&D, 2007; and Truck KC / STL Exchange, White Flag Projects, St. Louis, Missouri, 2007.
Born in San Francisco, Peregrine Honig attended the Kansas City Art Institute and currently lives and works in Kansas City, Missouri. She has had recent solo shows at Dwight Hackett Projects, Santa Fe, New Mexico and Jet Artworks, Washington D.C. Her work has shown Internationally with Gallery Akinci in Amsterdam and Gallery Arcaute in Monterey, Mexico. Honig's work is in numerous private and public collections including: The Art Institute of Chicago, Yale University Art Gallery, The Fogg Art Museum, The Milwaukee Art Museum, as well as The Whitney Museum of American Art. Her new portfolio of lithographs, Father Gander, published by Lawrence Lithography workshop, was recently acquired by 21C Museum in Louisville, Kentucky and Ball State University Museum of Art in Muncie, Indiana.
Ke-Sook Lee was born and raised in Korea, then immigrated to the United States, settled and raised a family. In 1982 she graduated from Kansas City Art Institute and in 1999 won a Charlotte Street Fund Award, a local grant rewarding outstanding artistic achievement. It is the multifaceted nature of her identity — Korean, American, wife, mother, woman, artist — that Lee addresses in her work. But it is her ability to convey this exploration through images, both formally gorgeous and symbolically accessible, that make her work so successful.
Jim Leedy has shown his work in a variety of media in more than 100 major exhibitions throughout the U.S. and abroad, including solo exhibitions in New York and at 11 museums in Europe. Leedy's exhibitions include solo shows at the American Craft Museum in New York, the Kohler Arts Center in Wisconsin, the University of Kansas in Lawrence and a large installation at the International Arts Exposition in Chicago.
Widely considered the "father of the Crossroads Arts District" in downtown Kansas City, Leedy was one of only two Americans invited to participate in the largest surrealist exhibitions ever assembled at the Retretti Art Center in Suomi, Finland. The exhibition began with Miro, Dali, and DuChamp, and culminated with several examples of Leedy's work. At the same time, he created a major installation in Pori, Finland, for the Pori International Jazz Festival. In addition, he was commissioned by the city of Himeji, Japan, to create a large clay mural for its new city hall. Public collections include the Museum of Modern Art, the Johnson Wax Collection; the American Crafts Museum; and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.
Leedy has appeared as a visiting artist, lecturer and concert musician at colleges and universities and at special events in the U.S. and abroad. His innovative use of clay in the 1950s and 1960s established him as a leader in ceramic sculpture. His continued experimentation with materials has resulted in cloth sculptures the size of football fields flying atop skyscrapers. In 1994, he was chosen to represent the United States in museum exhibitions in Norway, in celebration of the Winter Olympics. His awards and grants include the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, the Missouri Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Leedy has a B.F.A. from R.P.I. of William and Mary; a master's degree in art history from Michigan State University; an M.F.A. from Southern Illinois University; and studied on the postgraduate level at Columbia University and Ohio State University.
There is a familiarity and otherness about Anne Lindberg's work that disturbs our initial assumptions about meaning and invites pause. Her drawings and three dimensional installations are states of mind and environment, as understood through the body and land. They are rooted in the familiar, close to the body, and very personal in connotation and scale. She has always sought to activate both retinal and physical elements as equal partners in work that is subtle, quiet and emotionally charged.
Anne's work has been exhibited widely throughout the United States and abroad including the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, the Belger Art Center, The Writer's Place, Macalester College, North Carolina State University as well as venues in New Zealand, Quebec and Japan. In 2004, Anne created a permanent collection installation at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. In 2005, the Detroit Institute of Art purchased one of her drawings, and she had one person shows at the Dennos Museum in Michigan, and the Belger Art Center in Kansas City. New work was included in a group exhibition Decelerate at Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in 2006.
Lindberg has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors amongst them: a Charlotte Street Grant (1990) and a Mid-America/National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships (1993/4). She was Visiting Artist-in-Residence/Head of Department at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan in Spring 2005 and taught for nine years at the Kansas City Art Institute.
She graduated with a BFA from Miami University in Oxford, OH (1985) and received her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art (1988).
Audrey Mast of Flavorpill writes that "Kacy Maddux's curiously symmetric, Rorschach-like creations are the end product of an intensely freeform technique. Utilizing a vocabulary of iconic, organic, and geometric imagery — including disembodied hands, hair, branches, and stairs — Maddux envisions her drawings as "symbolic constellations" that reveal the ephemeral aspects of life. The most striking feature of Maddux's work is her confident, inimitable style — deceptively simple and tender, with sweeping, elegant lines that recall the Art Nouveau-inspired work of the late-'60s psychedelic era.
"Wilbur Niewald, professor emeritus of painting at the Kansas City Art Institute, received a 2006 fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in New York.
Raechell Smith, Director/Curator of H&R Block Artspace at Kansas City Art Institute writes, "Niewald has produced a prolific body of work; paintings that are as inextricably linked to the tradition of painting and modernism as they are to Kansas City. Painting and drawing directly from what he sees, the cityscapes and landscapes evoke a place. But, even as Niewald pays homage to the modem masters he most admires, he honors his longtime connection to Kansas City For it was in Kansas City where he first discovered Cezanne's Mont St. Victoire at the Nelson-Atkins Museum and, also, the work of Mondrian, which traveled to the Kansas City Art Institute as part of an exhibition organized by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Since the 1970s, Niewald has painted directly from observation: landscapes, portraits, and still-lifes. He says that being in front of something becomes the reason for painting, allowing him to get closer and see a thing more clearly. Whether his observation is focused on looking for the universal in, say, the vastness of a landscape rather than specificity of the Grand Canyon, or focused on one thing, not Kansas City but a rock formation hugging a hill or a nondescript building in contrast to the surrounding deep, green foliage, Niewald is guided by truth and imbues his paintings with passion and emotion. It is precisely this act of looking, the patience of perception and his careful, faithful observation of the things around him that distinguishes his art.
Mike Sinclair is an architectural and fine art photographer. Based in Kansas City, Missouri, he works for local and national clients. His photographs of architecture are frequently published in architectural press, including Metropolis, Architectural Record, The New York Times, and Interior Design. His fine art work is part of several public collections including The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Museum of Fine Arts Houston and The Midwest Photographers Project at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago.
Jim Leedy, Untitled, 2008, Stoneware, 49-1/2 x 18 x 15".