Category Archives: Exhibition

Throwback Thursday – KCAC Forum Summer 1983

In celebration of the Bangert Retrospective, a review of Colette’s work by Gary Noland:

KCAC Forum Magazine Summer 1983

COLETTE BANGERT
reviewed by Gary Noland

Only shallow observers of the Midwestern landscape dismiss it as banal and without diversity. Similarly the casual viewer will also determine Collette Bangert’s show at the Lawrence Gallery to merely reiterate the prosaic forms, shapes and colors available in the land between the Mississippi Rive and the Rocky Mountains.

Bangert goes beyond those natural barriers in her representations of the Midwestern prairie. She uses the land as a tool to organize color, line and structure; identifying in the process the poetic content and spirit of nature.

The rhythmic movement of earlier work (e.g. Land Lace Series) that focused on the effect of wind on the grasses has given way to a type of painting that records natural events on a grander scale: daily and seasonal change or decay and rebirth. As the artist has seemingly stepped back to make more general observations, her ability to simultaneously zoom in on the infinite detail in the land (through a nearly automatic form of handwriting) adds a variety to the work.

The Sun Moves West III (1983) is a large painting that refers to a sunset. The warm yellows, pinks and reds are confined to the upper right hand corner. Cool blues, greens, violets and greys dominate the rest of the surface.

The painting is divided horizontally by aggressive V-shapes that knife across the surface. Even though she applied the gestural strokes of color first, Bangert relies on colored pencils to intensify the acrylic wash and fine India-ink lines to structure and identify the color.

As the artist edges the colored areas with crisp black line, the “negative” shapes of the unpainted paper take on added significance—in effect increasing the surface activity by doubling the detail.

September (1983) is a painting about flux, change and renewal. Cool greens and yellow-greens dominate the surface. The abundant detail offers no single vantage point or place to rest the eye as is the case in nature. For example blades of grass or clouds inevitable lead the eye on to other blades of grass or clouds.

A disciplined use of color, kept very close in terms of value, unites and orders the surface. Again Bangert uses the colored pencil to strengthen the acrylic wash and the pen to direct its flow. The India-ink lines objectify, define and visually pull each color away from the surface. Yet the conformity of the value and color composition brings the colored shapes back to the surface—allowing the eye to move on to adjacent areas of the painting.

Diagonals on the right clash near the center, in a mesh of line and color, with a grid-like form on the left-hand side of the painting, symbolizing the cyclical patterns of nature.

Bangert combines color and line, painting and drawing to produce a body of work that is related as a whole, even though each painting has a personality of its own. In addition, the artist has the ability to objectify color, movement and line—allowing the specifics of landscape to have an equal footing with the essence of nature.

Throwback Thursday – KCAC Forum Summer 1980

In celebration of the Bangert Retrospective at KCAC, an interview with Colette:

KCAC Forum Magazine Summer 1980

INTERVIEW WITH COLETTE BANGERT
by Alan Milstein

Could you talk a bit about how you work, how you go about communicating your ideas visually?

These days I’ve been working on Masonite. I use acrylics straight from the tube or jar, diluted with water. For a long time, I had been using brushes to put the paint down. But I got to the point where the paint didn’t work going on with the brush anymore. I finally evolved a way of doing it with rags cut up from old sheets. Pieces of rags, crumbled, make interesting clumps of color as well as lines and drags and marks. I can control it and get all sorts of variations. The acrylic will stiffen the rags gradually over a period of time and that adds different kinds of marks.

Generally, the colors tend to go down in layers, first one then another. When it seems about right to stop, I go in with a small brush and start defining what I’m seeing there. That’s the fun part of it. The hard, open-ended part is putting the color down. Once I start defining, it’s closed. When that process is done, the picture’s done.

Elaborate, if you will, on what you mean by “defining” what you’re seeing.

What I’m doing is making it absolutely clear for myself what it is that these colors are doing, what the spaces are doing. So what I’m doing is seeing what is down there. In a sense, I’m doing the seeing for the viewer. I think I’m making it as clear as possible so there’s no mistaking what’s there to look at. So when the picture has been defined, it’s absolutely clear where everything is and how it is to be seen.

Do you make any sketches or drawings before you start to paint?

The way I work is that each work is a study for the following work. So, in a sense, I don’t really make sketches. While I’m working on a piece other ideas come­—changes I want to make or an idea for a whole new thing. What I’ve just been working on relates to what I’m currently doing. Some works tend to be more complete than others; some tend to be more ideas. Sometimes it’s very clear in my mind what I want to do. Other times, it’s not until I’ve seen it.

The real bombs probably have new ideas embedded in the old form. It takes a long time to get the new ideas together with a new structure to carry them.

Your paintings, as has been said quite often, evoke the local landscape; yet, you certainly don’t render particular scenes. What is it, then, about the landscape that you are trying to evoke?

I’ve been making pictures all my life, and for a little over thirty years I’ve been working with what I call elements of landscape. I am involved with the Midwest landscape, the landscape around where I live. I’m not trying to pin down a locale.

Instead of specifics, I’m more interested in essences. Generally, my paintings have been about seasons or a particular time of year. And they do tend to be cyclic. One of the things I’m involved with, for instance, is light. Another is the space relationships I see here which are particularly Midwestern. It’s more stripped down out here which provides certain clarity for seeing things.

Yet your paintings are abstract. How do you manage to communicate your ideas and feelings about the landscape through rather formal experiments in line and color?

One of the things I’ve been interested in is how the picture gets structured. I’ve been dealing with verticals which I see as a private kind of symbol and as a formal device. In terms of landscape, verticals are trees; they measure people; things grow vertically and so on. In the beginning, I would make it very obvious: just take the paint on the rag and go straight down. Finally, it evolved to where I got to the point that I could imply the vertical and incorporate it.

One of the metaphors for the Midwestern landscape is the inland sea. So one of the things to do to imply the vertical is a crest of waves, repetition and so forth.

As you mentioned, there really is quite a bit of repetition in your work, both in single paintings and in your series. They seem to me to be quite rhythmical.

That’s what’s outside. Things are repeated. That’s what one sees: repetition, patterning. I really think it’s very simple. There’s an awful lot of sameness, yet everything changes.

Some of your works are open and airy, while others are closed and quite involved, almost muddled, to use that word without negative connotation.

You’re absolutely right. Muddled has been something I’ve been very conscious about. I see that way outdoors. Some people see a field as a green open area or you can see a green area plus every little leaf that’s there.

Obviously, the two evoke quite different kinds of moods. How do they relate to your emotions while you are creating a painting?

I think it has to do with two side of me. It works like a big diary anyway. It seems quite natural that it would be those two sides. Sometimes I am closed.

Aside from sensing these emotions, what do you expect to be the viewer’s experience with your paintings?

I’ve been constantly working to make it clear for the person looking at it, clear so the viewer gets it.

I get excited by what I see visually; I find it very interesting to look at. I want the viewer to see what I see, which I guess is impossible. But I, like every other artist, want people to see what I see.

It’s a matter of making as clear and as well as I can what it is I’m seeing. If I can understand clear enough what I’m seeing and put it down there, then the other person, the viewer, should be able to see it. It’s visual communication. Like any human being, I just want to be understood.

 

Throwback Thursday – KCAC Forum Apr 1984

As recently as 2014, Tim Forcade exhibited  at KCAC’s Mallin Gallery and donated work at in the 2016 Annual Art Auction. Still today, the presence of light and technology are consistent themes in his photography.

KCAC Forum Magazine April 1984

TIM FORCADE
Objects and Entities: Sonic Realizations
By Gary Noland

“Someday artists will work with capacitors, resistors, and semi-conductors as they work today with brushes, violins, and junk.”
John Cage 1965

When Cage described Name June Paik’s work in 1965, Kansan Tim Forcade was indeed working with the brush.  True to Cage’s prediction, the artists show at the Art Research Center indicates that he is working with electronic materials.  it is important to point out however that the exhibition’s two light/sound machines and 32 photographs is not an hysterical jump onto the high technology bandwagon.

From the 1960’s, Forcade’s work has developed rationally and consistently to this point in his career.  The artist’s early paintings were systematically produced and based on the grid.  His tendencies to allow subtle variations within a focused system foreshadows the interrelated programs in today’s electronic performances.

In 1968-69, Forcade employed live models, voice commands, strobe lights and cameras in a series of figure studies.  The models, responding to his verbal commands, would move about the studio.  Their movements were recorded on film in cyclic intervals by timed strobe light flashes.  the resulting images recall the photographs of Muybridge and Easkins in the 1880’s, the paintings of the Italian Futurists and Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase.  The multiply exposed images of models following verbalized instructions again relates to the artist’s current study of sound generated images.

In the early 1970’s, Forcade experimented with light-producing objects in an effort to work with light itself.  The light boxes and panels, controlled by knobs, dials, and meters, created a moody environment by alerting the surrounding space.  The limiting confines of manual controls initiated the artist’s research for more advanced techniques and a more suitable modulator of light.  The best, most compatible element was sound.

Simply put, the artistic process begins when Forcade composes his own synthesized music and constructs the electronic circuitry in his Lawrence studio.  The sound impulses, translated into visual images by the electronic devices, are displayed on an oscilloscope screen.  With time lapse photography the artist records the sound-generated image.  Colorized images are created with the aid of a spinning, transparent color wheel placed in front of the screen.

The sound/light processors in the exhibit are tall, black boxes with the oscilloscope screen at eye level.  Both screens played Delayed Pulses, a 12-minute tape composed in 1983.  One screen included the spinning color wheel to romanticize the otherwise whitish glow of the phosphor beam.

When energized, Delayed Pulses is a program of minute comma-like shapes, swirling points of light that describe circuitous patterns and looped contours.  The combined effect of the melodic, melancholic sound and the cyclonic dots of light is meditative.  The sound/light processors refer o the artist’s earlier work in at least two ways.  Primarily both types of work attempt to create a mood via environmental alteration.  Secondly the x and y (vertical and horizontal) axes of the oscilloscope screen indicates he continued influence of the grid.

Without music and movement the photographic prints seem shallow – like a mobile without wind.  When viewed simply as ends in themselves however some of the prints are quite interesting.  The Shep series is the most engaging group of prints.  Translucent tubes of color fall from the left edge toward the bottom edge.  Smokey fields of colored planes and twisted light warp in sp0ace defining volume while shooting diagonal lines glow with a neon like brilliance.

Ironically the photographs are neither abstract or non-objective.  Because modern science enables us to witness sub-atomic events and investigate objects in deep space, Forcade’s images seem familiar.  Perhaps that is because he reveals truths about sound and light, their relationships and their individual roles as types of energy.

As a whole, the show presents a dilemma to the viewer.  The electronic boxes allows the viewer the luxury (or discomfort) of permitting immediate feedback to the work of art.  The viewer is prohibited from retreating to the sidewalk (as is the case with photographs) and awaiting the reviews to safely make up his mind.  Forcade’s electronic works cut out the middleman (art critics) securing a more economical and powerful exchange with the viewer.

Throwback Thursday – KCAC Forum Jan 1983

KCAC Forum Magazine January 1983

KANSAS ARTIST POSTCARD SERIES
by Don Lambert

Fifteen Kansas artists have had their postcard-size paintings chosen to be included in the 1983 Kansas ARtist Postcard Series sponsored by the Associaton of Community Arts Councils of Kansas.

It is the fifth year that ACACK has sponsored the series in an effort to familiarize Kansans with some of the state’s finest artists, according to Ellen Morgan, ACACK’s executive director.

The new series, which includes works by Barbara Roberts, Shawnee Mission; Paul Wolf, Kansas City; and Joan Foth and David Zlotky, Topeka, now is being sold for $4 by various arts councils, art galleries and books hops in the state as well at the ACACK office, 333 N Penn, Oberlin, Kansas 67749.

More than 200 artists entered this year’s competition which was judged by Stephen Doherty, editor of the New York City based magazine, American Artist.

In addition to being reproduced as postcards, the 15 winning works and ten alternates form an art show which ACACK tours to banks, libraries, businesses, and other facilities in the state.

For the unveiling of the new postcard series, the originals from the new series plus those from the previous four series were shown Nov. 13-26 at the Kansas Gallery of Fine Arts in Topeka. Referred to as “The Best Little Art Show In Kansas,” the show consisted of more than 100 works of art, each, the size of a 4×6 postcard.  Also at the gallery  during that time were regular size works of art by the new postcard artists, as well as by previous winners including Robert Sudlow, Walter Hatke, Charles Sanderson, and Roger Shimamoura.