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Current Exhibits

Jason Needham – Gallery Artist

Understory – Landscape Paintings

September 1 – November 23

Kansas City painter Jason Needham finds inspiration in the overlooked corners of the Midwest. As the sun rose one recent morning, he was concentrating on a tangle of overgrown vines surrounding a stand of cottonwood trees at Kessler Park in the the city’s Historic Northeast neighborhood. (Photo/ Julie Denesha)

I’ve had a long-standing interest in impressionism, post-impressionism, and early American modernists like Marsden Hartley. All the other obvious influences apply: David Hockney, Neil Welliver, Alex Katz, Lois Dodd, among others. I’m drawing and painting scenes that are very familiar to me: forest scenes just off the beaten path, a pocket of woods with an interstate, parking lot or air-conditioned retreat just behind me. The trick is to see these mundane moments as majestic while allowing the mistakes of hand and misconceptions of eye be as present as the purposeful. I like the paintings to coalesce from a distance but upon close inspection fall apart into marks and the process of making, with the underlaying scaffolding of the image still visible. Each brushstroke becomes a single particle and the painting a wave of time-space. Whether I’m standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon or staring into the corner of a room, the investment in looking is the same. On one end, I’m working areas of my brain that lie deeper than the surface stream of thoughts, the self-narrating voice. On the other end, I’m pondering the fundamental structure of reality.

Rodney Bode

October 21 – November 23

Rodney Bode is an American painter and sculptor whose life and art have remained outside the boundaries of culture. Born in 1941, and having lived most of his adult life in rural Idaho and South Dakota, Bode is an outsider artist whose vast collection of paintings and sculpture were only recently discovered after his institutionalization in the South Dakota state psychiatric hospital where he is being treated for schizoaffective disorder and vascular dementia.

“The work is very sophisticated, very competent,” says Lynn Verschoor, retired director of the South Dakota Art Museum. “These are really just exciting paintings; they’re good paintings. They’re nothing like you see in South Dakota. People here just don’t paint like this. And the sculptures are fabulous, well balanced. Of course,” she adds, “people are interested in the story, too.”

The label ‘Outsider Art’ created by Jean Dubuffet in the 1940s, certainly describes Rod Bode’s prolific collections of paintings and sculpture. Created in the sparse rural areas in Idaho and the plains of western South Dakota, unseen by the public, Bode’s “self-taught” creations were certainly “produced beyond the boundaries of the mainstream art world.”

Rodney Bode – 1069

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