PARKER'S PICKS - FINAL FRIDAY - MARCH 31, 2017

Since I am the creator and caretaker of the Wichita Art Scene Facebook Group, I am often asked which Final Friday events I recommend attending. I'll start by saying that I am NOT a Final Friday expert, and that my recommendations are based on my own personal preferences and tastes. I want to say, "go to all of them", but that would be an impossible task. Having too many awesome Final Friday events is a good problem to have.

Every month I will shine a spotlight on 3 or 4 exhibitions that I recommend seeing. These are the exhibitions that I am most excited to see myself. I should also note that I haven't seen any of these exhibitions yet. My recommendations are based on previous works by the artists or on promotional materials released by the artist or gallery. I encourage all of you to join the Wichita Art Scene Facebook Group to see the full list of Final Friday events happening in Wichita, Kansas.

- Dustin Parker

Mark S. Walker
Past Present Future

 

Vertigo 232 Gallery
232 N Market St

Final Friday, March 31st
6:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Vertigo 232 Art Gallery is the Wichita Art Scene’s best kept secret. The gallery is located on the second floor of Hewitt’s Antiques and Shopkeeper Mall and it has quietly hosted some of Wichita’s best art exhibitions for the past 5 years. The man behind Vertigo 232 Art Gallery is Mark S. Walker and he is having a solo exhibition called “Past Present Future” which will showcase work spanning his entire career. The exhibition features photography, paintings, mixed media collages, found object assemblage sculptures, video installations and original music. Walker is also a founding member of the Idology artist cooperative which formed in 2004. The group also includes Chris Frank, Ted Krone, David Christiansen, Greg Johnson, Greg Turner and Ed Langston.  

Walker’s work has a Pee-Wee’s Playhouse aesthetic. His work is like a broccoli stalk covered in chocolate and rainbow sprinkles. At first glance it looks like candy, but once you take a bite, you discover it is actually vitamins for your brain. Beneath the psychedelic colors and silliness you will find thoughtful commentary on culture and politics. The beauty of Walker’s work is that he disarms you with humor and tricks you into eating your veggies. 

His photographic works are digital collages created by layering multiple images, textures and colors in order to create colorful compositions that have a dreamlike quality. 

His found object assemblages are often constructed using recycled materials like Styrofoam and egg cartons, but it is also common to see ordinary, everyday objects like toy cars, playing cards, magazine clippings, plastic eyeballs, McDonald’s Happy Meal toys, old album covers, puzzle pieces, plastic fruit and pieces of real candy.

My favorite piece in the exhibit is a giant robot named Bonzo which is composed of painted Styrofoam, popsicle sticks, circuit boards, a pair of denim shorts and various other found objects. The sculpture is both silly and terrifying at the same time. The denim jeans made me laugh and they serve as proof that anything in Walker’s environment could potentially become part of his art.

This exhibition is special because it is a retrospective exhibition for a unique artist who has played a vital role in the Wichita art scene for many years.

ARTIST Q&A with Mark S. Walker

This exhibition showcases paintings, found object assemblage sculptures, photography, original music and video installations. Do all of these mediums of expression share a singular creative philosophy? 
I haven’t had any formal artistic training–consider myself self-taught. I have played guitar for 40+ years, taking photos for about that long too. I’ve been interested in video since 1982 and once I brought guitar into the mix, I began to consider myself a Multi-Media Artist. Working in theater and at an art museum broaden the picture. I think a toothbrush is a work of Art. I try to disregard boundaries and look at familiar situations in new ways, trying to apply certain freedoms and not be defined by a single art form. The assemblages are more a vessel for storytelling. Videos are mostly pure escapism with rhythm and pattern in music and color stimulation. Music is my search for an original tone and exploration of what certain guitar effect pedals can do. I enjoy arranging loops and original sounds for the movement of the videos, plus playing live events such as silent horror and altered films. It’s sort of a jack-of-all-trades, master of none approach

What are some of the common themes or ideas you like to explore in your work?Humor, Political, Nature, Color, Contrast, Opposites (Left- Right, Light-Dark, Yin Yang).

Where do you find materials for your assemblages and collages? 
Computer packaging, recycled materials, dumpsters, dollar stores, photos.

Can you explain your creative process?
Many times I am re-arranging the materials into a balanced form or design, then imagine an idea and a name for the piece. I then imagine what color I’d like to see it. I sort of strive to make it simple with first impression playfulness. I use altered and original images for the videos, then create and produce music to go with it. The music has changed through the years, from hard rock and jazzy folk to electronica. It's still evolving.

Who or What has been inspiring you lately?
Music, Culture, Natural Balance, Natural shapes, Abstract shapes, Surreal Alternative Realities.

What albums are you currently listening to in the studio?
ENO&HYDE - "SOMEDAY WORLD"
JEFF BECK - "HAIL LOUDER”
SNARKY PUPPY - "CULCHA VULCHA”
THE COSMIC RANGE - “ NEW LATTITUDES”
PINK FLOYD - “MEDDLE"

What is your favorite place to go in Wichita when you need to get your creative juices flowing? 
My Backyard, ANY Museum or Gallery or Garden, and Movies.


Rebecca Hoyer
Bringing the Outside - Inside
 

 

Reuben Saunders Gallery
3215 East Douglas Ave

Final Friday, March 31st
5:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Rebecca Hoyer is one of my favorite Wichita artists. The subjects of her paintings are often scenes from College Hill, Crown Heights and other Wichita neighborhoods. Her paintings feel both familiar and foreign, like a distant memory that has become distorted by nostalgia. They are tranquil paintings of houses, trees, flowers and big blue skies. The houses and plant life are rendered in simple shapes and flat colors. The compositions are often playful and flirt with abstraction. Hoyer never paints unnecessary details. Her work is powerful because it is simple and simplicity is extremely difficult to master. Her compositions are very deliberate and methodical. I also love her use of color. Her colors are often soft and de-saturated, and she often works with a limited palette. I’ve enjoyed watching her work evolve over the years. I’ve noticed that her work has become more adventurous and more playful. Her work is leaning more and more toward abstraction. And I’m beginning to see her experiment more with texture. I was pleasantly surprised to see her employ some splatters in some of her recent works. And, I was also surprised to discover some little critters inhabiting Hoyer’s Neighborhood. Once again, Reuben Saunders Gallery is delivering a must see exhibit. I hope this trend continues.

ARTIST Q&A with Rebecca Hoyer

What inspired you to paint Wichita neighborhoods / landscapes? 
When we moved here from NYC we bought our first house–a wooden bungalow that needed help. After the apartment buildings and stunted trees of the city, College Hill was beautiful and painting it was a way to learn about our new city. 

Back then the paintings were about the juxtaposition of the man-made house against natural elements. It was about building vocabulary. Can this shape be a tree? Can a circle be foliage? Now it is about pushing the shapes and adding different ways to move the eyes thru a painting.

I’ve noticed that you are starting to use more texture and splatters in your paintings, what has inspired you to introduce these new elements to your work? 
I’m working bigger, and the small variations I was using no longer had the same impact. They were getting lost. I had to find new ways to make the paint shimmer. And I wanted to add something that I couldn’t control, something that might surprise me.

Can you explain your creative process?
Draw, draw, edit, draw, edit, draw, paint. At the meta-level, finding the patterns in the chaos of the view.

Who or What has been inspiring you lately?
The net. I love that you can read about an artist or see a painting in a magazine and with a search you can see much more. Off the top of my head, I’ve been looking at Jonas Woods, David Hockney and Bill Scott.

What albums are you currently listening to in the studio?
I like to listen to podcasts. Stories, economics, interviews with artists, politics. The hum of voices focuses me on what my hands are doing. 

What is your favorite place to go in Wichita when you need to get your creative juices flowing?
I still like Final Friday and all the other openings. I am fascinated by how other people work and survive here and by watching how they carve out their own place in our art world.


Hannah Scott & Georgia Andersen
SMILE

 

Diver Studio - Downstairs Gallery
424 S Commerce St

Final Friday, March 31st
6:00 pm - 10:00 p

When I first met Georgia Andersen, she was playing keyboards for This Great October. At the time, one of my favorite Wichita bands. For many years Georgia was the girl that was in all of my favorite local bands. It wasn’t until much later that I discovered that Georgia is also a very talented visual artist. She creates letterpress posters and linocut prints featuring inspirational quotes and quirky illustrations which she sales on her ETSY shop The Big Harumph. I love her prints because they are simple and direct. The prints often have simple illustrations of insects, musical instruments, elephants, bicycles, robots, ray guns and people. Georgia is the type of artist that isn’t afraid to try different things and explore different mediums. She is the type of artist that is always reinventing herself and creating something unexpected. The “SMILE” exhibition at Diver Studio showcases a new series of portraits that are a departure from the crude and stylized illustrations she has done in the past. The new portraits are drawn in a more photorealistic style but they still maintain some of the humor and quirkiness of her The Big Harumph prints. The subjects are wearing silly hats, big sunglasses or fake beards. 

Georgia is sharing the walls with Hannah Scott. Hannah has created several incredible murals in Wichita including the Shocker Fan Wall at Wichita State University, the interior and exterior murals at Lululemon, and the “Take Your Pick” mural on the west dock of Crown Uptown. Hannah has also created several illustrations for local bands like Kill Vargas and Travel Guide and designed logos for the Douglas Design District’s Avenue Art Days, Central Standard Brewing’s Lunacorn, and Rock & Roll Camp for Girls Wichita. Hannah also has a knack for drawing portraits, a skill she has used to create over 3,000 hand-drawn portrait stamps for her company, Stamp Yo Face!. Her contribution to “SMILE” will be a series of graphite drawings of weird faces that she constructed using silly putty. The drawings are a continuation of the series she exhibited at Peerless last December. This series is a departure from the highly detailed pen and ink stippling technique that has become common in her work. Hannah’s drawing skills are always impressive regardless of the style or medium. 

While you are at Diver Studio, I highly encourage you to trek upstairs to see Kristen Shannon’s solo exhibition “Rose Colored Glasses.”

ARTIST Q&A with Georgia Andersen

What inspired you to draw this series of portraits? 
Well, I like drawing portraits because portraits are serious. And I like drawing my friends because my friends are hilarious. Sometimes these worlds collide. Serious humor is gold. Sarcasm is key. 

How does your experience as a musician influence your work as a visual artist? 
I play the saddest and most depressing music you've ever heard. On the contrary, my visual art tends to be quirky and playful. There is an appropriate time and place (and medium) for everything. These worlds never collide.

Can you explain your creative process?  
I get very obsessive in projects. My husband describes my creative binges as me having "gone away for a while" because I tend to be so focused and "in" the project that I sort of socially shut off. With visual art, I take over every work surface in the house. When I have an idea and a deadline, I turn into a robot until the project is done. Yeah. It's probably not "healthy." 

Who or What has been inspiring you lately?
Time and space. People! The white part of the eye that reflects the light source. Asymmetry. Face wrinkles. Hot coffee every morning. Honest critiques. Friends. Rachmaninoff. Triangles. A good source photo with dramatic lighting. All the folks who have paved the way here in Wichita. There are many. 

What albums are you currently listening to in the studio?
Do Make Say Think (& Yet & Yet).

What is your favorite place to go in Wichita when you need to get your creative juices flowing?
Lunch at My Tho with Torin always leads to some really great conversations. But I mostly just stay at home. By the piano. Or on the deck out back. Or in my studio downstairs. Diver. Fisch Haus.

ARTIST Q&A Hannah Scott

Are you sick of drawing faces yet? How do you avoid creative burnout without sacrificing your impressive creative output? 
Not quite sick of it, yet. I try to keep my creative practice varied and fresh, not fixating on one idea or style for too long before I run it into the ground. I kind of try to look at it from a spinning plate perspective; I keep several projects or ideas going that interest me and cycle through them, keeping them all afloat and feeling fresh when I come back around to each one. 

How does your commercial illustration and mural projects influence how you approach your personal work?
I’ve learned to be more free with the personal work I make. There’s pressure and restrictions that come with commercial work that can start to weigh on any sense of creative freedom, so I tend to lean towards experimentation and really letting my mind loose on an idea.  

Can you explain your creative process?  

First: coffee. Second: sitting down at my desk to brainstorm (which can look like sketching), browsing through photos or work from artists I admire, flipping through reference books, etc. Once an idea starts forming there’s a lot of hours in between that and the final product that are filled with (more) coffee, lots of music, and lots of crumpled sheets of paper. But I’m most comfortable bearing down and working until it’s finished. Gluing myself to my drafting table is my safe space. 

Who or What has been inspiring you lately?
This might sound lame, but there is a treasure trove of artists on Instagram who are really inspiring, and there are just SO MANY OF THEM. I’ve been finding lots of political cartoonists and illustrators who make it easy to feel inspired and fired up about using your art to make a statement. Brendan Loper, Woodrow White, Adam Zyglis, Chris Piascik to name a few.

What albums are you currently listening to in the studio?
“The Party” by Andy Shauf, and the new Minus the Bear album “Voids".

What is your favorite place to go in Wichita when you need to get your creative juices flowing?
The downtown library (to flip through endless inspiration), Reverie (to mull over an idea with some coffee and a cookie), and City Blue Print (never underestimate the power of new art supplies).

 
 

Patrick Duegaw
STUDY

 

Fisch Haus
524 S Commerce
Final Friday, March 31st
7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

In 1990, Patrick Duegaw co-founded the Fisch Haus artist cooperative with John Ernatt, Eric Schmidt and Kent Williams. The Fisch Haus began as a series of hit-and-run exhibitions that transformed abandoned spaces in downtown Wichita into temporary gallery spaces. In 1993, the Fisch Haus found a permanent home at 524 S Commerce, which is now a multi-disciplinary art facility that hosts art exhibitions, live music, theatrical performances, film screenings and dance performances. It also provides studio space for Patrick Duegaw, Eric Schmidt, Elizabeth Stevenson, Jamie Tabor and Kent Williams. The Fisch Haus is a magical place and it has been a vital part of the Wichita art scene for many years. Without the Fisch Haus and it’s inhabitants, we wouldn’t have a commerce street arts district and we wouldn’t have the Final Friday Gallery Crawl. 

Patrick Duegaw is hosting his first solo exhibition at the Fisch Haus since 2007. The exhibition is called “STUDY” and it will showcase a series of study drawings that he created for a series of paintings called “The Innumerable Anxieties”, which will be on exhibit at The Ulrich Museum of Art this Spring in a solo exhibition called “Pierced by Dogma.” These study drawings will range from sketchbook concepts to more detailed and refined drawings on paper. I have always greatly admired Duegaw’s work and consider him to be one of Wichita’s most important artists. In recent years, he has been exhibiting in museums and galleries outside of Wichita, such as the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, Lawrence Art Center, The Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art and Paul Mahder Gallery. I’ve missed seeing his work on display at the Fisch Haus. He is a master of presentation and his work always has impeccable craftsmanship. He presents his sketches with as much care as his finished paintings. The frames always look beautiful. The lighting is always majestic. Seeing a Patrick Duegaw show at the Fisch Haus is always a special treat. If you’ve never been to the Fisch Haus this Final Friday would be the perfect time to visit.