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Throwback Thursday – KCAC Forum May/June 1988

KCAC Forum Magazine May/June 1988

Coalition Continues Its Commitment
by Marius Lane Starkey

Artists with extraordinary sensibilities feel the significance of art so acutely they know how things look. They see because they see emotionally.  No one forgets the things that move inside them deeply.  Others, who have never felt the emotional significance of pure art, use their eyes only to collect information, not to capture the emotions.  There is a power in art to transport people to great emotional ecstasies.  This human experience in which artists try to capture and keep emotions alive ranges from the modest to highly ethical conceptions.

Art is one of the most direct and potent states of mind we possess.  it’s more direct because nothing affects the mind quicker than a visual statement.  it’s more potent because there is no state of mind more excellent or more intense than the state of aesthetic contemplation.

As artists, we see the world around us with different eyes.  in that moment of emotional vision, the artist has to have the ability or force to hold it, the skill and knowledge to translate it to visual terms.  This is not easy.  one has to practice and understand the “workings of the mind.”  Artists, most important, capture the nature of that extra element, above and beyond the skill of practice, which separates “Art” from other human activities.

Art work also offers us comments on what artists think, how they feel in the their terms by the use of physical visual statements.  These visual statements are made up of the language of “images,” not of words, and deliver infinite messages.  The role of art goes beyond that of just stimulus; and it extends to the human experience, keeping in mind that the art work also has a measure of independence. Art is the outlet for so man y kinds of emotions, individualistic or social.  It can then provide or bring about a total completion, or fullness, of emotional experiences and expressions.  This is the function that makes art so indispensable.

Today, there exists some confusion about art.  people’s view of art and artists is likely to be made up of myths and distorted notions of artistic exclusivity, which many artists have of themselves.  To erase these misconceptions would make art more approachable and more meaningful for everyone.

For artists to continue to produce and show their work, they muse have a place to express themselves freely.  The Kansas City Artists Coalition provides that place.  The KCAC is an avenue of free expression in more than just our exhibitions. Our busy schedule continues with lectures, performance art and the continuing series of River Front readings.

The KCAC commitment to excellence and new avenues of expression continues with the winners of the KCAC writers competition in this issue of FORUM. Also, the panel discussion titled “Critical Response,” art and art criticism, which will include the winner of this competition along with area artists and art critics, is part of the KCAC commitment to excellence.

My personal thanks to those board members finishing their two-year commitment.  it has been a busy year and Kansas City truly benefited from all their hard work. Thank you!

It has been an exciting year for the coalition, and the future looks even more excellent, with new programs and more growth on the horizon.  I welcome the new board members and know that we all will work to bring the best shows, programs of performance art, lectures and writings to KCAC.

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 – International Artists in Residence

Then:
INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE – NINA STAEHLI AND ALEJANDRO THORNTON

One year ago, October 2014, Argentinian printmaker Alejandro Thornton and sculptor/videographer/photographer Nina Staehli came to the International Artists Residency at the Artists Coalition for separate projects. From different backgrounds and cultures, the artists both tackled everything Kansas City had to offer during their short stay.

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Alejandro Thornton graduated from the National School of Fine Arts Prilidiano Pueyrredón, he is one of the emerging artists of the 2000 generation of Buenos Aires and has received awards and been included in biennials in Argentina and many other countries around the world. He came to Kansas City in collaboration with “Crossover KC-BsAs,” an international printmaking project organized by local artist Miguel Rivera and past KCAC artist-in-residence Alicia Candiani at Proyecto’ace. The Crossover KC-BsAs show included a piece from Alejandro but he also created a solo exhibition in the KCAC Charno Gallery. During his stay at KCAC, Alejandro was able to collaborate with the Kansas City Art Institute, lecturing about his work and career at the university and joining in on classroom experiences and critiques in the printmaking department.

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Nina Staehli went to theater and acting school in Rome (1983-85), attended the University of the Arts in Zurich (1988-92), and the “Instiuto d. Arte G. Ballardini” institute of art in Faenza (1997-98). She has received studio bursaries for Berlin and Casa Zia Lina on Elba Island and has been publicized in a number of books and catalogues. Staehli’s performances extend from public works and interventions, to video and film. She was awarded the FLEX bursary of the State of Zug in Switzerland, of which she used for her art research project in the United States along the Trail of Tears. Once in Kansas City, she processed the results of her research to create her film “Glory Land – Trail of Tears, ” and presented her work in an artist talk/performance.

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Staehli and Thornton hit it off during their stay at the KCAC International Residency and hosted a very well attended Open Studio in October 2014. Despite the distance, Nina and Alejandro continued their conversation and artistic partnership over seas; at long last the two artists have reunited in person!

Now:

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Staehli and Thornton are collaborating together again in their joint project International Monkey Business, an exhibition taking place in Schauraum, Switzerland. You can follow International Monkey Business from anywhere in the world at their Facebook event! We are so excited that the International Residency has fostered a lasting collaborative relationship between two artists across the world and that Kansas City was able to participate in that joint effort! So don’t miss it: International Monkey Business is opening tonight, one year after Staehli and Thornton’s meeting in Kansas City!

For more information and photos of Nina, Alejandro and their exhibition, here is a wonderful article published in the Swiss news! Also, be sure to let us know what it says…it is all in GERMAN! 😉

Throwback Thursday – KCAC Forum Mar 1980

KCAC Forum Magazine March 1980

Then:
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 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?
That 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.

Now:
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?