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Flint Hills Artists Spotlight

March 16, 2011

William Frank

William Frank is a Visual Arts MFA Candidate at Washington University that we had the pleasure of meeting and inviting to our schematic review as a guest critic.  Much of his recent work has focused on the prairie.  He says,

I am interested in the similarities and disparities between the scientific and poetic models of knowledge. Each perceives and represents a different profile of the things in the world. Science looks empirically and directly at its subject and fragments the world into distinct parts. Poetry looks askance at its subject and represents it with concision that opens up an expanse of possible meaning.

We can perceive and know the identity of a thing through its manifold of appearances, in its parts played off against its whole, and by its presences seen against its absences. My work attempts to evidence a particular thing by representing these features. I have taken the prairie landscape as my subject because its identity is distinctly poised between poetic imagination and scientific preservation and conservation.

"bifocal: the grass was the land as the water is the sea soft ground etching," aquatint, 7 x 40 inches.

"Limens," soft ground etching tryptich, each image ca. 10 x 2 feet.

"Poaceae" and detail (right), soft ground etching, 4 ½ x 8 feet.

Anne Lindberg
Anne Lindberg is an artist based out of Kansas City that has taught at Cranbrook Academy of Art and the Kansas City Art Institute. Her work has been shown widely across the country and exists somewhere between drawing, sculpture, installation. Particularly interesting to us are her “3d wall drawings” that include “waking slow,” “white cloud and shadow cloud,” and others that move and sound like the prairie (video can be seen here:

Neurologists have determined that the old brain holds the seat of our most primal understandings of the world. Goodwill, safety, fear, anxiety, self protection, gravity, sexuality and compulsive behaviors find their basic roots in this lower cerebral core.

I make sculpture and drawings that tap this non-verbal place, provoking emotional, visceral and perceptual responses — an awareness of the sublime. These non-representational works are subtle, rhythmic, and abstract and often manic. The large scale drawings are fields of marks in a variety of linear media, each developed as a system that slowly accumulates to create an abstract matrix of perceptions.

The sculptural works are also drawings, expansive, three-dimensional works made out of wood, thread and wire. I am interested in the optical and spatial phenomenon that develops in this work, as it spans the outer reaches of our peripheral vision. The works also reference physical systems such as heartbeat, respiration, neural paths and psychological states.

"White Cloud and Shadow Cloud," 2005. Stainless steel, pine, graphite, acrylic; 12 by 3 by 2 ft and 12 by 2 by 2 ft.

"Waking Slow," 2008. Stainless steel, pine, acrylic; 16 by 10 by 2 feet.

"Motion Drawing 01 - 06," 2009. Graphite on cotton board, 28 by 34 inches each.

"Old Brain," 2005. Thread, 650 pounds. 28 by 5 feet, by 8 inches.

"Raume Yellow," 2010. Egyptian cotton thread, staples; 7 by 14 by 7 feet.

Daniel Coburn

I live in Kansas: At the crossroads of the bible belt, where high-culture, agriculture, and anti-culture mingle together.  These photographs showcase a place and a people that are overlooked by most, but continue to be the standard by which America is judged.  This work features a territory and a people that represent the heart of our nation.

It’s taken me many years to compile the images in this collection.  I have chosen to present these images in pairs because Kansas has always been a land of contrast. I draw the viewer’s attention to details using a sense of irony and a visual language that is rooted in the vernacular of this complex place. I hope that these images remind the viewer of a person or place near their own home-town.  I hope the viewer can personally identify with the tragedy and victory of this land and the enduring character of it’s people.


"Power Surge"

I began my creative journey as a witness to the awesome power and beauty of nature. As my work has evolved, I’ve begun to focus on the impact of a human presence on the landscape. Seeking out man-made structures and incursions, I attempt to create dynamic compositions that beautifully combine the artifacts of a human presence with the looming presence of nature. These photographs are seldom a literal representation of a place or event. Rather, these images are my own artistic interpretation of the scene.


"Sunlight Sonata"


Lisa Grossman

Lisa Grossman is a painter and printmaker based in Lawrence, Kansas, whose work focuses on the open spaces and prairies of Eastern Kansas and the Kansas River Valley.  She says,

As a painter and printmaker for the past sixteen years, my work’s central theme has been open space. I’ve found my inspiration in the wide skies and prairies of Eastern Kansas and the Kansas River Valley. The power of this place, and my emotional responses to weather and shifts in light, color, and seasons, are the true subjects of my work.

My work has always been about shifts and ephemerality. I’m not so much trying to freeze moments in time as much as I am attempting to convey my experience of them. My wish is to share some of what I’ve discovered, offering a new way a seeing these waterways and open prairie spaces that hopefully, ultimately, awakens a new appreciation for them.

“Flatwater II,” 2010 , 44 x 36 in., Oil on canvas

"Kansas River - Moonlight," 2008, 20"x 22", oil on canvas.

“River Clouds,” 2007, 68 x 42 in., Acrylic on canvas.

Louis Copt

Louis Copt was born in Emporia, KS and grew up on a farm near the Flint Hills. He received a BA in art from Emporia State University in 1971 and has been painting full-time since 1984. He studied at the Art Student’s League in New York City and has taken classes in drawing and painting at the University of Kansas. He has led painting workshops to the Kansas Flint Hills and abroad.

My work has been influenced by a number of things, least of which is the environment in which I grew up and currently live. Rural Kansas and the Flint Hills have been the major focus of my work since the mid 80’s. Travel has also had a great influence on my painting. I think it is important to study art history and see the actual works of artists one admires. I enjoy the challenge of interpreting different surroundings through the lens of past experience.

"Clearing Skies," 2010, 48" x 36"

"Distant Fires," 2008, Oil on Canvas, 24" x 48"

"Prairie Dancer II," 2005, Oil on Canvas, 24" x 48"

"Flint Hills Green," 2007, Oil on Canvas, 24" x 48"

(Research by Andrea Fisk and John Weadon)

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