Archive for Wednesday, April 28, 1993

ART IN THE PARK

April 28, 1993

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Artist Ardys Ramberg's home could double as the Louvre of East Lawrence.

A sculpture garden skirts the walkway up to the two-story home. Inside, every room is wallpapered with sketches, paintings and sculpture by Ramberg, her husband, Karl, and their 6-year-old daughter, Zoe.

"I appreciate Karl's attitude, which is, put it up, put it up," Ramberg said, laughing.

She takes the same attitude about Sunday's Art in the Park event. She plans to bring a wild mix of her serious work to the fair, which she feels has strayed too far into crafts.

"(Founder) Joyce Schild meant this to be an opportunity for all the artists in town to show their work," said Ramberg, president of the Lawrence Art Guild. "For the last 30 years, I believe there has been an influx of craft shows and sales, and I wish the painters and sculptors would come back in force."

"I JUST WANT to go with something that has not been made specifically for sale, although I must admit," she said, breaking up in laughter, "that just about everything that I do is. That is how I eat."

Ramberg is one of 83 area artists lined up for Art in the Park 1993, which will feature painting, textiles, pottery, ceramics, jewelry, textiles and woodwork.

Close to 10,000 people usually weave their way through the exhibits at the annual event, a fund-raiser for the Lawrence Art Guild. It will begin at noon Sunday and continute to 5 p.m. in South Park.

Patrons also can listen to music or sink their teeth into food from concessioners. In case of rain, organizers will reschedule the event for May 9.

Ramberg grew up in Kansas City, Kan., and earned a bachelor's degree "a B.S., I love saying that" in art education from Kansas State University.

SHE TAUGHT art in Alma before moving to Lawrence in 1975.

"My brand of abstract art I think is better received in a town like Lawrence, although landscapes and portraits are still the crowd pleasers," she said.

A self-described "dumpster diver," Ramberg raids refuse for materials. The "trash art" pieces on the walls of her home emphasize texture, using such household materials as cardboard and linoleum.

"Drawing on linoleum is so gratifying, and it's a political thing, too, because if I'm drawing on it, it's not sitting in some landfill," she said.

She also has been working on a series of works that depict the images that play across eyelids when people close their eyes. But such art, comprising abstract shapes and vibrating colors, tends to escape most of the public.

"I'VE HAD relatives scoff at it and say, `Why do you waste your time with this,' " she said.

Realistic work, even with a touch of the esoteric, does the best with the buying public.

"If someone can see something they recognize in an abstract piece, they feel more comfortable with it," she said. "I had some pieces that had little dogs in them, and they sell immediately. People like that."

Some local, established artists now are "embarrassed" to exhibit at Art in the Park alongside less serious, more crafts-oriented work, Ramberg said.

Yet the primary goal of Art in the Park is to educate the public on the work of local artists.

"In this day and age, people can't afford to spend $1,000 at a fair to put something up in their living room," she said. "I say, put it up anyway and at least let them look at it."

"Like the other arts, art is an attempt to communicate our feelings," she said. "I feel that if I can make anyone as excited about texture and form as I am, that is just what I'm supposed to do."

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