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The Center is a Moving Target
Kemper at the Crossroads
33 W. 19th St
Kansas City, MO 64108
Kemper at the Crossroads displayed a perfect survey of the wide range of conversation happening amongst Kansas City local artists with The Center is a Moving Target. The space was divided nicely and curated very well. One of the most satisfying curatorial decisions being the comparison between Garry Noland’s rock like- gold duct tape lattice adorned sculptures and the muted palette and material resonance of Paul Anthony Smith’s large paintings; the works were located across from each other in front of windows in a large gallery space. I was very excited to see Smith adopting this monumental scale for his work, and using a painting style reminiscent of Fairfield Porter, in allowing the viewer to pause and at one moment be seduced by the material, and then by the narrative. Noland’s work felt like walking through a fantasy geode garden. Sculptural forms- the size and scale common in his work- with added mind-bending detail in creating drips of liquid gold out of woven duct tape.
These stunning works weren’t all this exhibition had to offer. The back gallery contained an interesting dichotomy between the quiet yet spooky works of Corey Antis and Arahm Park. Both of these artists offered something a little different. Antis’ work reminded me of 80’s new wave music; a muted and layered palette alongside his rhythmic use of brush stroke functioned in a synesthetic way. It may have been due to the color choices alone that these works conveyed the 80’s new wave vibe, but it instantly made me want to instantly listen to the sound of Johnny Marr’s guitar or Robert Plant’s vocals. Park on the other hand, continues to create black and white landscapes that feel like a true capture of a strangely finite moments.
Last but definitely not least, Robert Josiah Bingaman’s swimming pool made me completely stop in my tracks. Bingaman’s use of color seems to channel the films of Sofia Copolla. The work creates a sickly sweetness that conjures up memories and secrets of summers past.
Continent : Three Bodies of Environment and Experience
work by Casey Holden Briana Bosworth & Victoria Meyers
The Red Lady
1229 1/2 Union Ave
Kansas City MO 64101
The Kansas City West Bottoms, normally carries a very similar architectural and curatorial structure that one would find in the Crossroads. The Red Lady however had a completely different spin. The space had been transformed from a loft apartment into a gallery by KCAI Photography seniors Casey Holden, Briana Bosworth and Victoria Meyers via the help of an Indie Gogo campaign. The physical architecture of the space created a perfect context for the works; displayed here were largely highlighted abandoned domestic and industrial spaces, fitting right into the environment of the West Bottoms. The adjacent gallery, a space with paneled walls and chipping paint, was curated brilliantly. The maps of images allowed viewers to become lost in a dreamlike state as they allowed the implied narratives and moments to unfold through the artist’s lens. Woven here is a story of decaying Americana. Something in almost all of the photos felt eerily familiar, like a moment that was experienced but quickly forgotten. The space was staged in a comfortable way; couches, benches and even two swings allowed for a good amount of discussion and reflection to generate. I look forward to what these ladies do next!
Natalie Abrams, Beneath the Fold
City Ice Arts
2015 Campbell St.
Kansas City, MO 64108
City Ice Arts was incredibly empty for how mindboggling the work Beneath the Fold exhibited. The work of Natalie Abrams was both mind-bending and sexy. Wax folded sculptures stuck out from the walls, each bend and drip frozen in time. The smaller works, however, felt like analyzing a specimen under the microscope but contained the same insane mixture of spontaneity and control as the larger works. The sheer attention to detail seduces viewers into the material quality of the work. All of the square wax pieces were well executed and felt seamless.
217 W. 18th St.
Kansas City, MO 64108
This was my first time at Front/Space and I was really amazed by how the space itself fostered an intimacy for discussion about the topic. There was a bit of an overwhelming desire to analyze all of the data presented on the wall, which was a bit difficult considering the vast amount of people that were crammed into the small space. However, the overall weight Visualizing Vacancy carries is extremely important. Artists are great activists and problem solvers, and I am happy to see this collaboration with UMKC’s Urban Planning and Design program to analyze and strategize ways to improve the East side of Kansas City for its inhabitants. I will need to go back and spend a quieter and longer amount of time with this show.
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