|Four new exhibitions comprise the 121 th annual Midwest Art Exhibition , which opens at the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery on Sunday, March 31, 2019. On display through May 26 are paintings by Mark Flickinger of Arkansas City, along with three shows primarily from the Sandzén Gallery's permanent collection: Presentation Prints of the Woodcut Society, 1932-1954 , Celebrating Lindsborg Art , and wood-burned Sloyd furniture. The reception for the exhibitions will be Sunday, March 31, 2019, from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM with gallery talks beginning at 2:30 PM.|
The Midwest Art Exhibition was founded in 1899 by three local Lindsborg artists – Birger Sandzén, Carl Lotave, and G. N. Malm – as a complement to the annual Messiah Festival held at Bethany College. It represents the longest running annual art exhibition in Kansas. In celebration of Lindsborg's 150 thanniversary, the Gallery is presenting a selection of works from its permanent collection by artists who have called Lindsborg home. The exhibition will feature paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, and ceramics by nearly 70 artists and spans twelve decades.
Mark Flickinger is a painter and teacher at Cowley College in Arkansas City, Kansas, who is known for his exquisitely-detailed landscape paintings. He earned an M.F.A. at Indiana University and B.F.A. at Wichita State University and has participated in exhibitions throughout the country. Additionally, he has done commissions and painted murals extensively throughout the region. He writes, "Painting always begins as a response. Outside in the light and air, full of every detail and movement, I at once find and lose myself. It is important for me to be in the landscape and experience the light, weather, and changing nature of the place. I paint studies on location and ultimately try to show my love for color, paint, texture, space, air, and light. I have a compulsion to paint and be in these places."
One of the exhibitions from the Gallery's permanent collection is a display of the complete set of Woodcut Society membership prints in their original presentation folders. The 44 blockprints were created by an international cast of 32 artists and reveal a wide variety of subject matter and technique. In 1932, Kansas City grain merchant Alfred Fowler established the Woodcut Society with the sole aim of increasing “interest in fine woodcuts as a medium of artistic expression.” He planned to commission and publish two new woodcut print editions each year, proposing a subscription-based organization limited to 200 members. For $10 in dues per year, each would receive impressions mounted in a presentation folder. The Woodcut Society offerings were geared toward print collectors, and intended to be savored in the intimate setting of one’s private library.
The final exhibition, Sloyd Furniture , will showcase pyrography (wood burned) pieces from the early 1900s completed by Birger Sandzén, Amalia Rabenius, and G. N. Malm. A program in Sloyd was begun at Bethany College near the turn of the last century and continued for a number of years. One aspect of the program focused on pyrography, which is the art of decorating wood or other materials with burn marks. Dr. Marlysue Holmquist has written about the program stating "the word Sloyd , also spelled Slojd , is an English translation of the Scandinavian word Slog which means skilled hand work. Sloyd refers to the making of objects for daily use in the home, including weaving, clothing, kitchen and eating utensils, decorative items, and tools."
The Sandzén Gallery is located at 401 North First Street in Lindsborg. Hours are 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Tuesday through Saturday, and 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM on Sunday. 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, and these exhibitions visit the website www.sandzen.org, or call (785) 227-2220.