119th annual Midwest Art Exhibition open at the Birger SandzÚn Memorial Gallery

By Lindsborg CVB
January 08, 2017
Joel T. Dugan

LINDSBORG, KANSAS -- Four new exhibits encompassing the 119th annual Midwest Art Exhibition open at the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery on Sunday, January 29, 2017, on display, through April 23, 2017.  The reception for the exhibitions will be Sunday, January 29, 2017, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., with artists talking at 2:30 p.m.

The Sandzén Gallery is located at 401 North First Street in Lindsborg. Gallery hours are 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. The Gallery is closed on Mondays. Admission is free, with donations welcome. Docent tours for groups are available by two-week advance appointment with the Gallery. For more information about Birger Sandzén and the Gallery visit the website www.sandzen.org or telephone  (785)227-2220.

The Midwest Art Exhibition is the oldest annual art exhibition in the state of Kansas.  It was founded in 1899 by three Lindsborg artists, Birger Sandzén, Carl G. Lotave, and Gustav Nathaniel Malm, as a complement to the annual Messiah Festival at Bethany College. Throughout the years, art by regional and nationally known artists have been a part of the exhibition. The location for the exhibition has changed throughout the years on the Bethany campus, finally coming to the Sandzén Gallery when it opened in 1957.

Works by four incredibly talented artists with nationally recognized reputations.  Featured will bepaintings by Joel T. Dugan of Hays, Kansas; figurative ceramic sculpture by Michaela Groeblacher of Lindsborg; watercolors by Warren Taylor of San Angelo, Texas; and pastels by Elaine Lierly Jones of Gardner, Kansas.

Joel T. DuganJoel T. Dugan, assistant professor of painting at Fort Hays State University, is an accomplished visual artist and works primarily as a painter. He has an active national exhibition record of solo and group shows and has completed many public art commissions and multiple corporate commissions for intuitions such as The Ford Motor Company and the State of Michigan. Dugan also works to cultivate community interest in public art and community projects throughout the regions he has called home.

Lindsborg resident and McPherson College art professor, Michaela Groeblacher, has developed a unique approach to working with clay.  She writes, "As I ventured deeper into the world of ceramics, my interest in psychology lead me to figurative ceramic sculpture. Eventually this curiosity brought on further questions: How could the process of making an object become more than just a challenge for myself? How could my work be societally beneficial and not merely satisfactory for myself? I found the answer by sculpting on site, in a nursing home, with residents as models. There I have discovered a way to put my art to work for society by recognizing, valuing and conveying an individual's life experiences. This honest and artistic exchange has proven to be both profound and priceless for myself, the model and the viewer."

Nationally recognized watercolor painter Warren Taylor is returning to his early roots.  He received an undergraduate degree in painting from Bethany College and went on to a distinguished career at Midland College in Midland, Texas. His watercolor imagery involves a complex network of layers going between historical art references, present day themes, and comics. Floating above this imagery are three-dimensional objects juxtaposed to these complex flat planes.  Taylor notes, "The intention is for the viewer to examine the work that is on top, and that which goes so deep as to be barely visible. To me, this reflects our response to time, to the past and to present realities. Then, the focal point becomes the central image or object which is illuminated by the ever eternal light. So in a sense, I have set a stage and the central image then takes center stage for a two-dimensional and three-dimensional drama at the same time."

The final artist exhibiting is pastel painter Elaine Lierly Jones from Gardner, Kansas.  Lierly Jones creates realistic rural works with deep hues and textures, full of life and dramatic highlights.  Many of her works are completed on location, in plein-air, which she says "has sharpened my sensitivity to the world around me. You come away with more than plein air paintings and photos. It encompasses all your senses to return to the studio to paint. I feel the sun on my back and that glorious view in front of me! I am always thinking about how I can add in the light. I scratch, brush and blend until I achieve my desired effect."