Dylan Mortimer opens up again, Mike Sinclair goes full Nelson, the SCP snaps to attention, and PLUG books a big weekend
At the beginning of 2016, with a show in the main gallery at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, Dylan Mortimer shifted his sign-based artwork from the overtly religious toward a more personal faith quest. He put his daily, lifelong struggle with cystic fibrosis into the public sphere, asking us to participate in his healing journey. This Friday, he updates the story, with glittering cells, bodily fluids choked by disease, and organs wrought like stained-glass windows. His new set of machine-fabricated art takes over the first floor of Haw Contemporary, in the West Bottoms (1600 Liberty).
Regeneration, Mortimer writes, is an expression of his longing for “a kind of healing that stretches my imagination” and “generates life out of seeming lifelessness.” The stepping up of materials, from cardboard to metal forms, is a fascinating gesture toward greater permanence, now that Mortimer has passed the average life expectancy for someone with CF. Instead of employing powder-coated finishes, though, he maintains his affair with craft-store glitter, honoring life’s decadence as well as its transience. Regeneration opens with a 6-9 p.m. reception Friday, November 11.
Upstairs at Haw, Lisa Grossman presents a series of tallgrass-prairie paintings created during her April 2016 participation in the newly created Tallgrass Artist Residency. Her immersion in Kansas’ natural landscape has resulted in beauty: Exquisite Solitude captures that which cannot be photographed.
Mike Sinclair, long known as one of Kansas City’s great photographers, has a documentarian’s eye. His camera reveals both our common memory of a place as well as aspects we’re apt to miss on any given day. A new book of his images, called The Nelson, is the center of his exhibition of the same name, also opening Friday at Haw. It’s a visual narrative of that shared civic space — as picnic spot, outdoor mass-yoga studio, Greek-theater stage, more. Sinclair’s photos remind us what a gift the community has in the museum — and of the gift his own art provides.
Finally, Haw is also where to see the second annual Society for Contemporary Photography’s member show. Current Works 2016 is juried by collector and civic figure Larry Meeker, who talks about his selections at 7 p.m. Friday, November 11, at the gallery. He says photographs can be viewed as slices of time, but he asks us to consider, too, the personal relationship between the photographers and their images.
Another welcome return: the annual PLUG Projects book fair. It takes place all weekend in the West Bottoms (1613 Genessee), from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, November 11; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, November 12; and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, November 13. This year’s event features the usual enticing selection of art books, zines and one-of-a-kind publications, as well as two Art Writing = Critical Events. CRIT2 is a Saturday writing workshop with Blair Schulman and Melaney Ann Mitchell (10 a.m.-noon; register by Friday at firstname.lastname@example.org), of the Informality arts-and-culture blog. From 10 a.m. to noon Sunday, PLUG hosts a reception to release the long-awaited Issue 3 of 8 1/2 x 11; enhance your book-fair shopping with this new publication — and a light breakfast from Meshuggah Bagels. (RSVP for that to the same e-mail or on PLUG’s Facebook page.)
Friday, November 11
Safari Café (2605 Independence Avenue)
Local author and artist Curtis Urness Sr. presents new paintings in watercolor, acrylic and pastels in this show that’s up through November 22. The opening reception and reading is from 6 to 9 p.m.
Sunday, November 13
Yuval Yairi: Surveyor
Epsten Gallery (5500 West 123rd Street, Overland Park)
Opening reception 1-4 p.m. The visiting Israel artist also appears from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, November 14.