Monthly Archives: September 2015

eric ryser

Fall is here and so is the KCAC Artist Lifestyle project on Instagram! We are very excited to announce blacksmith and past KCAC exhibiting artist Eric Ryser (@ericryser).

“While having been trained as a traditional object maker in Non-Ferrous Metals, the past several years of my career have been strictly focused in Iron/Steel.  One process in particular is the use of nitric acid to etch detailed patterns in plate steel. Previous experience with Intaglio Printmaking has resurfaced in my metal work.  This process still allows me to explore the realm of two-dimension while continuing to be a three-dimensional artist.”

We had such a great time with Eric when he was in the Underground Gallery back in May of this year and we imagine we are in for another wonderful ride this time around! Here are a few images of his work and past Instagram images…

Ryser_Eric_Image-1_AL_9_15  Ryser_Eric_Image-2_AL_9_15  Ryser_Eric_Image-3_AL_9_15

Be sure to follow Eric on his KCAC Instagram journey Thursday, October 1st – Tuesday, October 6th!

If you missed any of our previous Artist Lifestyle Artists you can always catch up on the KCAC Instagram (@kcartistscoalition) to see what has been happening or search all social media with the hashtags: #kcartistlifestyle #kcacartistlifestyle

Throwback Thursday – KCAC Forum Mar 1980

KCAC Forum Magazine March 1980

An Interview with Robert Sudlow
by Alan Milstein

The following interview took place last fall in the artist’s canvas-filled studio in Lawrence.  Warmly and openly, Sudlow spoke about his work and about the Kansas landscape he paints. He had recently unveiled a group of works he had painted in the flint Hills the previous winter, a series of canvases which masterfully captures not only the look but the feel of that unique Kansas terrain.  Sudlow’s landscapes are not composed of realistically rendered details; they are not mere windows overlooking a natural scene.  They are more like mirrors, reflecting the artist’s sense of place in and reverence for the natural scene.

Could you talk a bit about how you work; how you go about translating what you see onto the surface of a canvas?
I used to do a lot of sketching and then I would bring the sketches inside the studio. In the last ten years, I started painting in the field.  Essentially, I start a large canvas right on the spot, working rapidly, trying to catch the time, the place, the feel.  Then I bring the painting back in, working on it in the studio, trying to maintain that sense of identity, that sense of immediacy.

What is the usual time interval between the work you do on canvas outside and then inside in your studio?
It varies. Typically, I work very hard during the winter and I get a body of work. Then I leave it and come back during the fall.  I can see all that stuff from the previous year with a fresh eye; and, immediately, I can see what’s wrong and what’s right and then I can act accordingly.  That psychological time distance gives you a clearer viewpoint.

How much do you change from what you see in front of you outside to what you get on the canvas?
I find that just instinctively I do a lot of rearranging, eliminating. I realize a lot of what I’m working toward is something other than pure sight. I don’t take photographs and I don’t feel like I’m seeing photographically. But I am trying to merge myself with the weather and light and time.

Is that why you don’t seem to spend much time with small details?
Yes. When I’m working rapidly, spontaneously, and on the spot, I’m dealing with the elements like earth and sky and wind. Big things that tend to cancel out descriptive detail.

How much more work on a canvas do you actually do in the studio?
I can never say exactly.  Sometimes it’s like a miracle, like the whole damn thing was given to me. There it is; it takes very little. Other times… well, I’ve got some now I don’t know if I’ll ever finish.

What sort of preparations do you do before you take a canvas outside?
I work with a very muted pallet and a lot of times, what I do is take a canvas out that already has a veil of colors on it.  I love to have a steel gray or an atmospheric purple or a warm-toned canvas.  Because when I take the thing out there I have to improvise around it.  So I’m always dealing with thin washes, with transparent colors.  I see that way.  I’m seeing the world as a series of transparent veils.  And I have to keep the washes thin because I have to work fast.  I do a lot of changing; and also in cold weather the only way oil paints are manageable is fairly thin.

Why do you prefer to paint in the winter, particularly in a frigid one like last year’s?
The color is far more interesting.  The colors are just there, a secret. I like the graphic element, too. They dry linear stuff that goes on that you don’t get in the summer.  The severity of it I find very interesting.  After working in the winter for a number of years, I’ve been getting the materials so it comes easier for me. I’ve gotten the methods of tying things down, keeping the paints from freezing, keeping myself from freezing.

What specific problems did you have working in the Flint Hills?
The country is the hardest place to paint I’ve ever been in.  It’s so full of subtleties particularly the transparent winter light.  It just knocks me out.  I think the weather, the light, the storms, the sky, all affect Kansas so much more than other places.

Earlier you mentioned the change from merely sketching to actually painting outdoors. What brought about that change?
I was simply overwhelmed by the discoveries outdoors. Working outside I literally could forget everything I knew.  When you work inside, naturally, you can revert to your old trends and formulas, to what had happened before. I think sometimes I’ll maybe come back to a little more studio work.  When I look at the work I did in the Flint Hills, there’s a lot of things I would like to control more, reorganize, simplify. I’m going to take some of those works and recast them with a little more formal control, a little more incisive look into what I’m after.  Studio painting has its virtues and limitations and what you do outside the same thing.

One thing that strikes me about your Flint Hills paintings is the speckled surface of the canvases, which gives me the sense of feeling your landscape just by looking at them.
A lot of that is the darker ground coming through after I put the lighter colors over it.  There’s an awful lot of touch sensation to my paintings, a tactile thing; and that’s another part I’m trying to deal with.  Getting away from the purely visual: not just putting the image on the canvas but getting tactile sensations to echo the response of being in the landscape.

In addition to that tactile feeling, what else do you expect the viewer’s experience to be with your paintings?
I suppose any time a painter is really involved with his work he hopes that he’s in touch with other people.  To me, painting is a loss of ego.  It’s not the sense of I’m an artist and I’m going to express myself.  It’s more trying to reach out and identify with something, with an experience that you want to make real.  It always strikes me as miraculous that images and paint become a vehicle for communication. I still can’t get over it.

The Kansas landscape continues to be a source of inspiration to a number of artists in the area. What fuels your art and inspires you? Is it something personal in your history or a part of your environment?

fidencio martinez-perez

KCAC Artist Lifestyle is back with an insider look at current KCAC Charno Gallery artist Fidencio Martinez-Perez‘s (@artistfidencio) life as an artist on the go!

Fidencio was born in Oaxaca, Mexico, but was raised in North Carolina after his family migrated. His current work examines immigration, the drug war, and socio­economic issues affecting Mexico. In his work, Fidencio manipulates newspaper cuttings, maps, paper, and painting surfaces to refer to the crafts and customs taught to him as a toddler in Oaxaca – ones used to celebrate festivals and mourn the dead. For Martinez these techniques are a way to reconnect with a time and place no longer present.

We are looking forward to getting some behind the scenes looks at Fidencio’s studio practice and art making processes. Here are a few images of his work and past Instagram images…

Martinez-Perez_Fidencio_Image-2_AL_9_15   Martinez-Perez_Fidencio_Image-1_AL_9_15   Martinez-Perez_Fidencio_Image-4_AL_9_15

Be sure to follow Fidencio on his KCAC Instagram journey Thursday, September 24th – Tuesday, September 29th!

Don’t forget to swing by KCAC to see Fidencio’s artwork in person before it is gone. His works are on display in the Charno Gallery through Thursday, October 1st. We also encourage you to join us for the Closing Reception on Thursday, October 1st from 6 – 8:30 pm for a chance to hear Fidencio speak about his work!

If you missed any of our previous Artist Lifestyle Artists you can always catch up on the KCAC Instagram (@kcartistscoalition) to see what has been happening or search all social media with the hashtags: #kcartistlifestyle #kcacartistlifestyle

Throwback Thursday – KCAC Forum Feb 1980

KCAC Forum Magazine February 1980


Wilbur Niewald at the Kemper Gallery
By Elisabeth Kirsch


As Chairman of the Kansas City Art Institute’s Painting and Printmaking department for the last 21 years, Wilbur Niewald is one of Kansas City’s best known and respected painters, Coupled with the knowledge that his recent September 1979 one-man sow at the Ingber Gallery in New York City spawned a number of national reviews (as did his previous show there in 1976), it is to be expected that his January exhibition at KCAI’s Kemper Gallery provoked a heightened critical response.

Twenty-five oils and fourteen watercolors, composed of classically represented still lifes, portraits, cityscapes and landscapes, comprised this large exhibition of uniformly consistent quality. Niewald has, one assumes, now thoroughly entrenched himself in a school of traditional realism increasingly evident in his painting since the 1960s.  His earlier work of the 1950s and early to middle sixties, although derived from nature, was largely abstract. I have never seen his paintings from the 1950s, but they are purportedly influenced by the work of Mondrian, notably the master’s Pier and Ocean series.

Niewald’s paintings of the next decade seemed to take a more personal bent; brightly colored dashes and stripes filled his canvases with horizontal and rectangular slashes that created a brisk interweaving of space with color.  Niewald followers claim there latter paintings were never given the full attention they merited.  They are, perhaps, the most original of any of Niewald’s work, and represent an interesting, almost classical, strain of abstract expressionism.

then, in 1965, while in Florence, Niewald became more concerned with what he calls “realizing the direct experience.” Taking as his credo Chardin’s maxim “I lay on paint until I get a resemblance,” Niewald began a series of paintings containing more and more obvious references to the physical world.

A number of painters, of course, by the turn of the last decade, had abandoned abstract painting styles in favor of new currents of realism.  Leslie, Pearlstein, Estes and a host o f others evolved very personal styles worked realistically that somehow managed to be contemporary as well.

These painters, in many instances, “borrowed” from much older masters (e.g., Leslie from Caravaggio). Niewald, it is clear, reaches back to the last century to pay homage to Cezanne.  What one reviewer describes as “open celebrations of Cezanne” (ArtNews, November 1979), however, this reviewer sees as a reliance so heavy as to rob these works of what we must all expect of a painter as experienced as Niewald; that is, a unique way of viewing the world. At times the viewer feels transported back in time and place to Aix-en-Provence rather than the more cosmopolitan setting of Kansas City, Missouri, where Niewald works.

Is Niewald’s watercolor of a mountain really drawn from Yampa Valley in Steamboat Springs, Colorado as the title says, or is it an incarnation of Cezanne’s beloved Mte. Ste. Victoire? If one must ask, then the similarities are really to embarrassingly close.

Niewald also comes too close, for my comfort, at least, to Cezanne’s style not only with his choice of subject matter (his paintings of geraniums and cowskulls are also reminiscent of Cezanne), but with the obvious parallels that may be drawn between the two artists’ compositional devices.  Perspectives similar to Cezanne are apparent in the still lifes, as table corners tip toward the viewer and as white drapery folds around oranges and apples, and in the landscapes there is a solid horizontal and vertical layering of space evidencing a clear debt to the Frenchman.  Granted, there are marked differences between the two painters, but that is not the issue.  What is worrisom is that we are given a vision of our physical environment that in substance is an echo of a sensibility that is almost 100 years old.

As difficult as it may be for any artist painting these subjects to escape the influence of the man considered by many to be the father of 20th Century painting, it has been done by all the aforementioned artists in this article.  Weather or not we care for their vision is another matter; at least they have a unique way of coming to grips with the “real” world in a manner peculiarly contemporary.  One expects the same of Niewald, and in all fairness he accomplishes this to a great extent in his cityscapes of the Kansas City area.

One of Niewald’s obvious strengths is his ability to create a solidly structured architectonic kind of space, and it is well served in his paintings of building and skylines, composed of rectilinear strokes. Niewald considers all of his paintings to be portraits, and indeed these Kansas City scenes are.  He accomplishes the enviable task of presenting us with a topographical view of an urban city that is yet warm, intimate, even inviting.  Away from the mountains and table tops of Aix-en-Provence, Niewald comes into his own.


Niewald continues to be a predominant artist in the Kansas City area and his View of the Roundhouse was the Sealed Bid item for the 2013 Annual Art Auction at the Kansas City Artists Coalition.