Director of Birger Sandzen Memorial Gallery Brings Along Friends in Current McPherson College Art Exhibition

By Adam Pracht, McPherson College
October 11, 2016
"Crunch" by Ron Michael

On its own, work from the director of the Birger Sandzen Memorial Gallery would signal a wonderful art exhibition. The even better news, however, is that he has brought some friends with him.

The “Ron Michael and Friends” exhibition is on display at Friendship Hall on the campus of McPherson College now through Oct. 20, with a special closing reception from 7 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 18.

Wayne Conyers, professor of art, said that the basis of the show came to him by considering active artists who he admires and appreciates. Michael, whom he has known for about 20 years, came right to mind.

“His sculpture and accompanying drawings speak of a fascination with manipulating materials from the earth,” Conyers said. “Ron’s work has the aesthetic stance of earthiness and a respect for relationships among elements that constitute the earth’s surface.”

Looking like they grew, from the floor of the gallery, the works are mostly large and mostly in shades of brown, tan, white and green. They’re organic and are defined by their raw, rough textures. But Michael’s works are only about a third of the 75 pieces on display.

Much of the work of Michael’s eight artistic friends shares a similar “dimensional” feel that pops out from the frame of even the 2-D watercolors and oil paintings. Michael selected these nine individuals – one of whom has passed away – as artists he respects and whose styles complement and contrast with his own.

These artists are Cary Brinegar of Salina; Maleta Forsberg of Lindsborg; Sarah Garten of Overland Park; Mick Jilg of Hays; Joyce Jilg of Hays; Jamie Kelty of San Francisco, Calif.; Darrell McGinness of Hays; and Ray Kahmeyer, who lived and taught in Lindsborg and died in 2007.

For many of these artists, their appeal to the senses and “roughness” are a part of the artistry. Kahmeyer, for example, said that his ceramics were made to be used and, as such, are simple and have flaws.

“If my pots are to be successful, their meaning will be found in using them,” Kahmeyer said. “The vessels, like the people who partake from them, will have imperfections, for they are made one at a time by imperfect hands.”

“Ron Michael and Friends” is free and open to the public, and all are welcomed and encouraged to attend the closing reception as well.

Contact:Adam Pracht, public relations coordinator, 620-242-0425, [email protected]

McPherson College, located in central Kansas, is a four-year private liberal arts college offering more than 20 bachelor’s and pre-professional programs. Throughout the curriculum, students are encouraged to explore their ideas, to learn through doing and to make a difference in the world.  McPherson College, affiliated with the Church of the Brethren, is committed to the ideals of scholarship, participation, and service – developing whole persons, prepared for fulfilling life vocations.

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