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Archive for Sunday, October 14, 2001

Dreams and places ––— Artists look at home place, memories

October 14, 2001

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"Imagination and Place -- Three Perspectives," sponsored by the Kansas Land Trust, Lawrence Arts Center and Cottonwood Review, features the works of Jane Voorhees, Ron Michael and Gesine Janzen. Curator is Lawrence painter Lisa Grossman.

"When I was first asked to curate the show, I was thinking of imagination and place," Grossman said. "The idea was so broad it could encompass everything."

So she started looking through the cards she'd collected from art shows and the reviews she'd clipped from magazines to try to narrow the show's theme.

"I thought of Ron (Michael)," she said, explaining she first saw his imaginative and well-crafted ceramics at his master's thesis exhibition at Kansas University. "His work is about soil and imagining things that could come from the soil. It's verging on science fiction " and rooted in his home place in Jewell County."

Michael's artworks, which resemble soil or stone with fossilized organisms, are presented as if they are being displayed in a natural history museum.

Grossman said she was drawn to Janzen's prints after seeing her "From the Porch" exhibition a few years ago at the Dolphin Gallery in Kansas City, Mo.

"(Her prints) have a quality of memory and home place," Grossman said, adding that Janzen lives in Newton.

"Her prints deal with thoughts and memories of her family home. She uses farm and outbuildings, and homemade garden structures. " (Her prints) are very sophisticated and are simple in an earthy way."

Grossman first saw Voorhees' prints and paintings at a Kansas City River Market exhibition years ago. It featured a large wall assemblage of rows of small individually painted and printed panels of handmade paper.

Voorhees' art fit the exhibition's theme because it "seemed to look into her memories and had a sense of place," Grossman said.

"She uses juxtaposition of contemporary images, like power lines and airplanes, mixed with earthy and landscape images, wildlife, earth strata," she said. "She might have an eagle next to the Statue of Liberty."

Grossman hopes those seeing the exhibit will leave with a keener awareness of the place in which they live and how they are living.

"I want them to ask questions, and consider the ways they could live more simply or beautifully," she said.

-- Features-arts editor Jan Biles can be reached at 832-7146.

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