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Witness: Retrospective by Jason Pollen
Retrospective by Jason Pollen
December 4 - March 6, 2021
Proceeds from the sale of artwork benefit the KCAI Fund and support student scholarships at KCAI
Jason Pollen (KCAI Emeritus Professor) is an internationally acclaimed artist, designer, and educator. He has been an iconic Kansas City visual artist since he joined our art community in 1983 as a professor in the Fiber Department at the Kansas City Art Institute. Since his retirement in 2010, he continues to be prolific by maintaining a dedicated and spirited studio practice. He draws from his personal love of nature, travels, and life experiences. He then takes those notes and experiments with surface treatments, materials, and sculptural techniques. This combination of ingenuity and self-reflection results in distinct iconography and visual keynotes that are unique to each of his featured series: Descendents, Witnesses, Stands, Outliers, Nomads, Portals, Ventanas, and Ancestors. He shifts his focus from one series to another, and back again. There are common visual and conceptual threads that unite this entire retrospective entitled "Witness." It is truly an honor to showcase such a vast and varied collection of Pollen's artwork.
To witness is to have knowledge of an event or change from personal observation or experience.
I have been drawing, painting, collaging, designing, and stitching since I was a child. Elaborate sandcastles were the first source of inspiration. This retrospective is an overview of works created in the past half-century. My art journey has been characterized by experimentation with process and materials, and the search for a compelling communicative visual language. I have often felt as if I were witnessing my hands create something from nothing, then compelled to breathe as much life as possible into whatever shows up. ~ Jason Pollen
Group Exhibition Featuring:
February 5 - March 27, 2021
“In a world myriad as ours, the gaze is a singular act: to look at something is to fill your whole life with it, if only briefly.”
― Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
MATERIALIST II features new paintings, drawings, and sculptures by six artists; Jessie Fisher, Melanie Johnson, Kathy Liao, Christopher Lowrance, Michael McCaffrey, and Scott Seebart are all local artists and educators devoted to perceptual painting, material exploration, and the physicality of their media. Collectively, the members of this group explore the phenomenological and the material while simultaneously employing the practice of making as a responsive vehicle for invention and a forum for reflection.
The work in this exhibition highlights each artist’s respective devotion to sustaining a poetic mediation between the directly observed, the recounted, and the re-presented, often via painstakingly meticulous, labor-intensive, or counterintuitive approaches. Close inspection of the work reveals individual methodologies that are far from direct, indicative of conscious parameters concretized while engaging with the meditative process of making.
Choices of subject are deliberate; the psychological, the familial, the ecological and the overlooked come together as icons signifying each artist's insight whose full impact is revealed to viewers willing to spend time unpacking process as a function of meaning. The making of the subject is the subject's personification. This devotion is emblematic of a specific kind of intimacy, demonstrated through the artists’ engagement with material and subject simultaneously, hinting at a proxy for intellectual and emotional connections rather than material as a mere means of representation.
KCAI BSU | Black History Month Exhibition
Dress Code: Black Only
February 6 - March 27, 2021
Izsys Archer | Jahmai Brown | Nehemiah Cisneros
Logan Crompton | Kevin Hopkins | Dante Moore | Abby Oyesam
Taj Terry | Aleah Washington | London Williams
Dress Code: Black Only celebrates resilience reserved for the Black student body at Kansas City Art Institute. The work in this exhibition showcases intersections of the Black consciousness, interior, and internet spaces. As critical political conversations have moved from the streets to online platforms, there has been a rise of the fetishization of Black suffering supporting agendas detrimental to the Black community.
The Black Student Union requires participants to steer away from violent themes to rectify the misrepresentation of the Black body in the media. Grasping this extraordinary time of isolation and rest as a guide to self-reflection, we claim a new reality that embraces discovery and representation through the inherent need for creativity. Each artist in this exhibition demonstrates a response to history through various mediums to revel in the present and prosper to remarkable, unimaginable Black futures.
Out of gallery