In with the new

The H&R Block Artspace has on display work by this year’s crop of graduates from The Kansas City Art Institute. This is a respectful move by the school, one that acknowledges four years of toil and dedication. Although the work is housed within a new, expansive space, it’s difficult to take everything in, but one experiences a palpable joy amid the chaos as one bears witness to new work by emerging artists in all disciplines.

Nathan Shay’s scaled-up “Rock ‘N’ Chair” sits atop a small rug and waits for a sitter. Constructed out of steel and painted blue, the chair takes effort to climb into, and the weight of one’s body sets the whole thing in motion. When it rocks, it feels as if it’s going to overturn. Remember that sensation from when you were 2 years old? By inviting the viewer to interact with his sculpture, Shay helps an adult feel like a kid again.

Andrea Trout’s “Surveillance” displays a promising, detail-oriented sensibility. She festooned a shoe-shine box with all things stolen — rusty nails, house numbers, snapshots of strangers, and so on — complete with a tiny electric light at its center. And Matthew Wood’s “untitled” explores a unique material application of milky-white acrylic over geometric cutouts. The shapes exist far beneath his painting’s surface, alluding to what is buried, forgotten, or barely perceptible.

Even without the use of a crane — no one could afford to supply him with one — Miles Neidinger managed to create “exoticycle – organibization,” a tangle of bicycles that begins inside and spills outside, cascading down the outer wall from a second-story window to the ground below. This huge mass weaves together and defies gravity without bolts, wires, or extra hardware. Neidinger’s careful use of balance and tension attests to the fact that a good space can be its own inspiration. Here’s hoping that the senior show continues to happen at the Block so that every year one can see the up-and-comers pull out all the stops.

Kansas City Art Institute: Annual BFA Exhibition
through May 13

at the H&R Block Artspace

16 E. 43rd St.


Categories: A&E, Art