Archive for Thursday, February 5, 1998

PHOTOGRAPHER SHOOTS IN SHADOW OF VOLCANO

February 5, 1998

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A Lawrence resident documents how Montserrat residents responded to a volcano that threatened their homes.

Lawrence photographer Gary Mark Smith has put together an astounding portfolio of about 75 photographs taken on an expedition last September to the Caribbean island of Montserrat during the eruption of the Soufriere Hills volcano.

The portfolio consists of gripping images of stubbornly determined residents refusing to abandon their island homes in the face of a volcanic display so powerful that one questions their sanity in standing their ground.

Smith says he is "known in the art world as a street photographer, but (he is) taking it to a whole new level by showing in (his) photographic work that we are all one -- it's a global thing."

The streets he chooses may be paved or sand, but they all speak to Smith's penchant for choosing subjects in tenuous places, such as Montserrat and El Salvador. Clearly, though, it is not just the chosen subject that gives these images their power.

Smith has no gallery exhibits of this new work scheduled, although he plans to exhibit about 25 of the prints in November at Paradise Cafe, 728 Mass. He plans to fill the rest of the space there with his "Dreamscapes" series.

For the time being, Smith is busy teaching his style of street photography to a group of 9- to 16-year-olds at the Haskell Indian Center, a workshop made possible through a Kansas Arts Commission grant. The group, called Lawrence Photography Project Phase II, will have a showing of the resulting photographic work in early March at an as yet undetermined location.

Nan Renbarger, a fiber artist, is having a very busy February. The artist, who specializes in unique three-dimensional works she calls fiberscapes, is showing at three Lawrence locations as well as teaching a fiber art class at the Lawrence Arts Center, 200 W. Ninth.

A dozen of Renbarger's "delightful, whimsical sculptural wall pieces," as Marty Olson describes them, will be showing throughout the month at Olson's Do's Deluxe and the Velvet Chair, 416 E. Ninth.

Renbarger will install several new fiberscapes, which incorporate original hand-dyed fabric, hemp twine and perle cotton creating a 3-D effect, in the center area at Paradise Cafe. She also will display fiber "vessels" in the glass case. The exhibit will begin Sunday and remain on display through the first week of March.

Last, but not least, Renbarger will be the featured artist for February at the gift gallery in Community Mercantile, 901 Miss. The Merc will feature Renbarger's more functional items, such as wearables and magnets. All the artworks, whether sculptural or functional, are created primarily on a machine and all have the brightly colored and richly textured surfaces that are characteristic of her work.

"I can't get away from colorful," Renbarger said with a laugh.

The exhibit at Paradise Cafe can be seen from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Do's Deluxe is open for public viewing from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, and Community Mercantile is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Two exhibits sponsored by the Lawrence Art Guild will feature local painters through February. Showing at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt., will be works by award-winning watercolorist Clark Fulton. Fulton's abstracted 'scapes can be seen daily during library hours.

Millie Peters, of the Downtown Tuesday Painters group, will be showing her work at the Lawrence Community Theatre, 1501 N.H., during the intermissions of shows and by appointment in March. To see her work, call the theater at 843-7469.

Art Affair Gallery, a Baker University student-operated gallery at 622 High in Baldwin, will feature the brightly colored and somewhat Impressionistic acrylic landscape paintings of Max Humphrey through Feb. 14.

In the 15 canvases, Humphrey has turned his attention to the scenery of eastern Kansas, including the Prairie Park area, as a favorite inspiration.

Art Affair is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and will be open Wednesdays-Fridays as well. However, the gallery's operators are working with a new semester and student hours and have not set the new schedule yet, according to gallery director Chandra Lancey.

For an appointment or directions to the gallery, call (785) 594-7470.

The Lawrence Arts Commission is starting out an active 1998 with calls for artists for four site-specific artworks and grant applications.

The first deadline to meet is March 2, for individuals and organizations applying for grants of funds not to exceed $500 for each proposed project.

Lawrence Arts Commission grants are intended to encourage the arts within the community and may support materials, equipment, publications, rent, travel, education or other part-time needs.

Visual and/or performing artists may pick up applications at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt.; the Lawrence Arts Center, 200 W. Ninth; the Lawrence Art Guild's Riverfront Gallery, suite 206, Lawrence Riverfront Plaza Factory Outlets; or the City Management Office, fourth floor, City Hall, 6 E. Sixth.

Second, with an application deadline of March 15, the arts commission is asking for proposals for artworks to be installed in three locations at the new Lawrence/Douglas County Community Health Facility. Application forms, however, are no longer available.

The arts commission also is seeking applications for an artwork for the Lawrence Aquatic Center, 715 Ky. They are specifically seeking artwork that will integrate the site, while creatively expressing the spirit of the center.

To obtain an application, which has an entry deadline of April 1, contact Tom Wilkerson, Parks and Recreation, City of Lawrence, P.O. Box 708, Lawrence, 66044.

-- Diana Dunkley is a part-time reporter for the Journal-World and a professional artist working out of her Lawrence studio.

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