I recently attended one of the most avant-garde art events I've seen in Wichita for some time. This event brought together local art, music, and food trucks to Abode Venue for a dynamic night of cutting edge culture.
Wichita State University is home to many exceptional sculptures permanently displayed throughout campus. Recently, Francisco Zúñiga’s “Three Women Walking” was re-located from its original placement due to the massive renovations underway at the Rhatigan Student Center. Moving this hefty bronze sculpture was no small feat. Weighing in at two tons, it required construction equipment and precision guidance to situate the work just north of its original location.
In the late 19th century, Impressionist painting was the avant-garde style coming out of Paris. This style explored the formal qualities of color and light through loose brushwork and open compositions. Yet Impressionists painters, such as Edgar Degas and Edouard Manet, were not just painting pretty pictures. They depicted contemporary urban life in Paris, and the subject matter scandalized art patrons who were more accustomed to classical scenes.
The Keeper of the Plains is a monumental sculpture that marks the confluence of the Big and Little Arkansas Rivers. Rising 44 feet in the air, this Cor-Ten steel sculpture of a Native American chief is a popular site for Wichita visitors and residents alike. The proud figure stands tall with his back arched, offering something invisible to the sky with his upturned palms. The crisp lines of the stylized figure give it striking silhouette. But the large headdress and waving fringe gives the figure movement and life.
Of all the many lines in the movie “The Wizard of Oz” that are regularly quoted by us cartoonist and commentary types, the one that is probably most often used is spoken by Dorothy. Looking around in amazement at Munchkinland, she says, “Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore!”
This Final Friday, the Wichita State University Sculpture Guild will be hosting their annual art exhibition at the Diver’s Studio on South Commerce. Playfully titled “Fondle, Please,” this show encourages visitors to not only touch the art, but it requires people to physically interact with the works in order to fully experience the show. While the show maintains a lighthearted air, the Sculpture Guild’s theme is determined to transform passive viewers into active participants.