Three new exhibitions open at the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery on Sunday, May 6, 2018, with a reception that day from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM and artist talks beginning at 2:30 PM. Featured shows include paintings by Robert Gratiot of Denver, Colorado; woodcuts by Jean Gumpper of Colorado Springs, Colorado; and wood engravings by Prairie Print Maker and Russell, Kansas, native E. Hubert Deines. The exhibitions will continue through July 22, 2018. Robert Gratiot is a Denver, Colorado, artist who paints highly detailed still life works and cityscapes using acrylics. In both realms his canvases combine a strong sense of abstraction and realism. He writes, "I hope that both styles would make the viewer more conscious of, and excited about, his or her visual environment. They are very painterly, and as such represent a loose form of photo-realism." He will also be exhibiting small landscapes done on cigar boxes. In addition to working as painter, he is a popular and longtime instructor at the Art Student's League of Denver. Gratiot received an M.F.A. in painting from the University of Denver and a B.A. in art from the University of the Pacific in California. Between Water and Land features woodcuts by Colorado Springs printmaker, Jean Gumpper. Her landscapes are created by a reduction process where the image is first drawn on the wood. Then the areas meant to remain the color of the paper are cut away. Each piece of paper is carefully registered on the block before it is run it though a press with pressure to transfer the ink to the paper. After all of the pieces of paper in the edition are printed with the first color, the block is cleaned off and everything meant to be the color just printed is cut away. The second color is then rolled out and printed onto the paper. This process of cutting and printing is repeated until the print is completed, usually in editions of 12 - 20.
Regarding her use of imagery, Gumpper writes, "I am always looking for water. Born in Hawaii, growing up in Michigan surrounded by the Great Lakes, I now live in the arid west. The sources of my prints are from springs in the Grand Canyon, trails opening up into ponds, small plants flowering in the desert, and details I find from far away and near my home. To me, these images become rich in meaning as they suggest resilience, renewal, beauty and new life in a time of constant change."
Wood engraver E. Hubert Deines (1894-1967), is legendary in the annals of Kansas printmaking. He was born near Russell, Kansas, and began drawing at an early age. After completing high school in Kansas City, he studied at the Kansas City Art Institute. He served in WWI, afterwards studying painting at Académie Julian in Paris for several months. He returned to America and worked as an artist for the Kansas City Times from 1920-32. Additionally, he did freelance illustration work, joined the Prairie Print Makers and several other art associations, exhibited his wood engravings frequently, and maintained lively correspondence with fellow artists.
His work was highly influenced by the popular regionalist movement in art, which depicted life in rural America, and his prints were celebrated for their rich detail and precise imagery. Later in life, Deines returned to Russell to help with the family's furniture store, but continued to produce engravings at his home on Main Street. The exhibition has been loaned by the Deines Cultural Center in Russell and partial funding of the exhibition was made possible by a grant received by the Russell County Area Community Foundation and members of the Friends of the Deines Cultural Center.
The Sandzén Gallery is located at 401 North First Street in Lindsborg. Gallery hours are 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM Tuesday through Saturday, and 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM on Sunday. The Gallery is closed on Mondays. Admission is free, with donations appreciated. Docent tours for groups are available by two-week advance appointment. For more information about Birger Sandzén, the Gallery, or these exhibitions, visit the website www.sandzén.org or telephone (785) 227-2220.