Category Archives: Studio Visits

Studio Visit With Paul Anthony Smith

By Ayla Rexroth

Paul Anthony Smith is Jamaican American, his attitude is positive, he is opinionated and his works employ traditional genre scenes. His media ranges from ceramics, paintings, drawings, collages and photography, and this gives him a wide range of visual and material strategies for communicating his ideas about cultural tradition, world politics, and race.

I was excited to meet with Paul because his work challenges me to think outside of my own cultural perspectives and I can read it on several levels. Growing up in Iowa, my hometown happened to have an amazing collection of Haitian genre paintings, and they were my favorite because they were out of place in a museum where most of the exhibits were either by regionalist painter Grant Wood or about corn production. I can easily connect much of Paul’s imagery to the Caribbean paintings I love, but there are several differences. Paul is making art in historically regionalist Kansas City, and he’s working with contemporary themes, events, and methods.

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Studio Visit with Jaclyn Senne

Visiting Jaclyn Senne’s studio reminded me of the essential questions for painters… “What should I paint?” “How do I create a studio momentum that allows me to produce a lot of work and continuously experiment?” What do I do when that momentum is broken?!What I am so excited about in Jaclyn’s work is that it she is in control of her subject matter, painting technique and color. The one thing that doesn’t follow the same command of her perfectly taped off lines is the overall composition. In her piece Backyard/beach course vacation-planked location with strand-lit courts and towels and iced coolers Senne creates a loose sketch of the images architectural structure. She then plays a strategy game of fitting together pieces and objects that don’t work together until they are just believable enough. In thinking about this, her work becomes so reflective of life. Fake it till you make it.

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Studio Visit With Garry Noland

By Clayton Skidmore

What is a mid-career artist?  Does it describe an artist’s income or how influential they are?  Ayla and I pondered these questions over beers with Garry Noland in our recent studio visit.  It became the initial topic of our conversation, an idea that Garry himself seemed confused of since he’s been a practicing artist for over 30 years. As a prerequisite to having his studio at Studios Inc., being mid-career seems to be a loose title assigned to a group of artists with widely varying years of practice.  If age isn’t a variable, what does it mean to be mid-career in a city where it seems there are not enough collectors to earn a living, and to gain prestige artists have to show outside of their own city?

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Studio Visit With Amanda Gehin

Recently, Ayla and I stopped by the home studio of local artist, Amanda Gehin. Amanda and her boyfriend Idris Raoufi are in the process of renovating an old book bindery in Old Hyde Park to be both a live/ work studio and a new home base for the 816 Bike Collective. Seeing the studio space in process was invigorating, all of the potential the space has is quite exciting. Amanda’s works are mostly small-scale gouache paintings that look like children’s book illustrations. They are woven with characters that reference architectural elements – stairs, walls, and turrets to name a few- and vibrant multicolored patterns. She has also worked on a larger scale and with stop motion animation.

In her studio located above the old book bindery, we were greeted by a room that featured a chevron couch. The room’s color palette reminiscent of her work; a blue floor, bright lime cabinetry, offset with neutral wood paneling. Amanda showed us more of her portfolio, we saw a timeline of her work’s growth, stemming most strongly from the playful nature of the collages she made from her stop motion animations. We could more easily see the sense of play she has when making her images. Continue reading

Studio visit with Stephen T. Johnson

By Ayla Rexroth

My studio visit with Stephen required a drive to Lawrence, Kansas.  I spent the day promenading around the downtown area, and made a stop at the Wonder Fair gallery and print shoppe, before heading to Stephen’s studio in a warehouse filled area of Lawrence.  Appropriately the building has huge red capital  A, B, C & D in giant 3-D block lettering across the front. Stephen’s work includes painting, collage, drawing, sculpture and installations that use an alliterated alphabetic structure to guide material and compositional choices. Stephen is an award winning children’s author and illustrator and his work becomes contextually slippery because it is displayed in museum and gallery exhibitions, public installations, and simultaneously printed in his children’s books.  

Stephen showed me collections of materials and explained some of the semantic rationals that guide his artwork. For Example, “I got all these fake french fries from a guy in New York” and manipulated them into the narrative, “Fourteen hundred and fifty-five fake French fries were flipped, flicked, and flung onto a full-size (75 x 54”) field of faint fuchsia.” From his book A is for Art: An Abstract Alphabet.

Alongside his materials he purposefully references art historical movements and era’s . The work reminded me of the type of play found in works by Tom Friedman, but materially did things like replace the use of hay on an Anselm Keifer painting with french fries.

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Studio Visit Season


What I most enjoy about doing studio visits is getting into the artist’s headspace and process.  I always like seeing how the studio space is a reflection of their design sensibilities, and experiencing artwork in the studio as opposed to a gallery setting always takes me on a contextual imagination ride.  I love seeing the understructure of artist’s businesses, and the technologies and equipment they employ. It’s studio visit season so over the next month SUB will feature the studio practices of local artists. Hope you enjoy.

Subterranean Gallery Director,

Ayla Rexroth