Commentary
5:00 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Art: 'Joe's Swan Song' Is A Must-See

Wade Hampton paintings found in 'Joe's Swan Song'
Wade Hampton paintings found in 'Joe's Swan Song'
Credit Lindsey Herkommer / KMUW

This past weekend, CityArts opened a new show called Joe’s Swan Song – a guest-curated exhibition by Joe Goodwin.

Joe is a long-time patron of the arts in Wichita who has also done a fair share of arts organizing and independent curating around town. As indicated by the exhibition title, this CityArts show is his last curatorial endeavor.

For his last hurrah, Joe reached out to some of his favorite artists from his collection. For this group invitational, he brought together: Curt Clonts, Connie Ernatt, John Ernatt, Wade Hampton, Rebecca Hoyer, Ted Krone, Gary Lincoln, Steve Miner, Kevin Mullins and Bruce Van Osdel. Joe asked that each artist produce new work for the show. To have these major players from the '90s era of Wichita’s art scene in a single room is an incredible thrill.

Work by Connie Ernatt in 'Joe's Swan Song'
Work by Connie Ernatt in 'Joe's Swan Song'

Of these artists, I was particularly impressed to see so much of Connie Ernatt’s work in one place. Her bronze assemblages are not only technically proficient and formally stunning, but her philosophical questioning of the primal nature of mankind adds a profound depth to the show. With the continuous debate of evolution vs. creationism, Connie’s subject matter could be considered fairly controversial – even making Wade Hampton’s paintings look downright quaint. And her presentation of her work elevates the entire show.

At a time in the year when small-works shows position themselves for the gift-giving season, Joe’s Swan Song presents a must-see winter show that offers beautiful harmonies that one could listen to for a lifetime.

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