“Kentucky Visions at the Capitol” Showcases 27 Artists in Senate Offices
FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky Arts Council, by invitation of the Senate Majority Leadership offices, has organized a temporary visual art exhibition for the duration of the 2007 session of the General Assembly. Artists who have been previously accepted into the Kentucky Arts Council’s Visual Arts at the Market Program or have been awarded Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowships were invited to participate. Kentucky Visions at the Capitol, located in the Senate Leadership offices, has 36 pieces of artwork by 27artists from 15 Kentucky counties. The total value of the artwork in the exhibition is $73,196.
“Visual artists have a sometimes daunting challenge to market their work,” says collage artist Kathleen O’Brien. “Spotlighting us in events like this is very supportive to our efforts.”
Participating artists are David Bartlett, Rowan County; Patricia Brock, Jefferson County; Jim Bryant, Calloway County; Ken Landon Buck, Campbell County; Paul Burns, Madison County; Laura Eklund, Carter County; Warren Farr, McCracken County; Bruce Robert Frank, Scott County; Linda Fugate-Blumer, Fayette County; Elsie Kay Harris, Fayette County; Rebecca Cathleen “Cathy” Hill, Jefferson County; Emmy Houweling, Henry County; Michael Thomas McCardwell, Shelby County; Dan McGrath, Fayette County; Gary Mesa-Gaido, Rowan County; Kevin Muente, Kenton County; Mary Newton, Jefferson County; Kathleen O’Brien, Mercer County; Letitia Quesenberry, Jefferson County; Sandy Miller Sasso, Calloway County; Carol Shutt, Fleming County; Gueniver Smith, Jefferson County; Karen Spears, Fayette County; David Stratton, Daviess County; Robert Tharsing, Fayette County; Ralph Tyree, Clark County and Gayle Williamson, Jefferson County.
A press conference organized by Senate Leadership offices will be held today at 2:45 p.m. in Room 242 of the Capitol Annex to introduce the exhibition, the artists and the Kentucky Arts Council.
NOTE TO EDITORS: Artists Bios are included below.
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The Kentucky Arts Council is a state agency in the Commerce Cabinet that invests in programs that develop vibrant communities, provide lifelong education in the arts and support arts participation. Every $1 in grant funds awarded by the Kentucky Arts Council helps grantees secure $15 in earned income and matching funds from individuals, philanthropic sources and other levels of government. Kentucky Arts Council funding is provided by the Kentucky State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.
Available Bios of Participating Artists in “Kentucky Visions at the Capitol”
David Bartlett, Morehead (Rowan County)
David Bartlett was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin. After graduating from Carleton College in Minnesota, he joined the Peace Corps, teaching high school in Micronesia. After his term in the Peace Corps and a Master’s degree in philosophy from Yale University, he received his first training in photography. This led him to further pursue his interest in art at the University of Michigan, where he studied with Phil Davis. He has taught art at Morehead University since 1980.
David has received two Al Smith Fellowships from the Kentucky Arts Council (1996 and 2005), as well as Distinguished Creative Production at Morehead University in 2002. He has garnered over fifty national and regional juried show prizes.
Patricia Brock, Louisville (Jefferson County)
Patricia Brock from Louisville in Jefferson County first began photography as a hobby to document family history and record travels. Her photographs reflect the scenes of nature: flowers, animals, waterfalls and landscapes. Each image captures the exquisite, colorful, and minute details of nature surrounding us, holding a special memory and place in time.
Patricia began producing note cards and enlargements that reflected her sensitivity to nature. The interest of friends and family was the spark that led to the pursuit of a professional venture, and Captures of Nature began. Patricia exhibits at Kentucky Crafted: The Market and several juried art shows. Her work is available in specialty shops and a number of Kentucky state parks.
Jim Bryant, Murray (Calloway County)
Jim Bryant has been an Associate Professor of Art at Murray State University since 2001. His work has been shown at exhibitions across the country including shows at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, W.H. Over Museum in South Dakota, the Massachusetts College of Art and the Carol Reece Museum in Tennessee. He holds a Master of Fine Arts from Louisiana State University.
Ken Landon Buck, Highland Heights (Campbell County)
Ken has signature status in the Kentucky Watercolor Society, the Georgia Watercolor Society, the National Watercolor Society, the Southeastern Pastel Society, and the Oregon Pastel Society (in which he was given the Master Pastelist award). His works have shown in national and international competitions, such as the National Watercolor Society, Pastel Society of America, and many others. He has won numerous Best of Show awards and national prizes in the top juried exhibitions.
His work appears in Encyclopedia of Living Artists in America - 3rd Edition; Artists of Ohio; Creative Watercolor and ÒIchimal no EÓ magazine in Japan. His paintings are in numerous private collections and public collections such as: Cincinnati Financial Corporation, Brown Forman, Yeiser Art Center, Nassua Community College, Carnegie Art Center, and the Erlanger Public Library.
Paul Burns, Richmond (Madison County)
Paul Burns was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. He has studied art independently since first taking an art class in his freshman year of high school. He began to study portraiture in 1998, creating lifelike portraits in oil, pastel, charcoal, watercolor and graphite pencils. An oil painting that Paul produced in 2002 was requested to become a part of the national archives in Washington, D. C. and he has original art and reproduction prints in numerous personal collections across the United States.
While watercolor is his favorite medium, Paul also excels in oil, oil pastel, pastel crayons, charcoal, and graphite pencils. Countless hours of drawing have led Paul to develop a unique style. In 2006, he conceived a project he calls the Gates of Kentucky, in which he travels around Kentucky drawing gates and gathering stories about them. Paul plans to draw one image per week as new gates are discovered.
Jim Cantrell, Bardstown (Nelson)
A native of Oklahoma who was raised in eastern Nebraska, Jim Cantrell earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in 1958 and his Master of Arts degree from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley in 1965 with a double emphasis in ceramics & painting. He began his distinguished career as a teacher. In 1971 he established himself as an independent studio artist in Bardstown, Kentucky where he continues to work.
Cantrell’s paintings can be seen in major public and private collections. Participating in over 200 solo, group, and juried exhibitions, he has been the recipient of many awards, including two fellowship grants from the Kentucky Arts Council and from the Southern Arts Federation. He was named Alumna of the Year for Creative Achievement at the University of Northern Colorado in 2000. In 2005 he was awarded a $7500 Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council.
Laura Eklund, Olive Hill (Carter County)
Laura Eklund graduated from Morehead State University with a Master’s Degree in painting in 2006. She was raised on a tobacco farm in Olive Hill, Kentucky. Throughout her childhood, her parents encouraged her “artsy and creative self” with literature and music. In high school and at county art fairs her paintings received awards, and when she was nineteen she sold her first painting. She went on to pursue her love of art and poetry in college, sometimes incorporating poems and words into her abstract paintings.
She has studied extensively with David Bartlett, Janena Reynolds, Gary Mesa-Gaido, Doug Adams, Larry Carroll, Bob Franzini, Jerry Ulesmann, and Greg Penner. Her paintings are primarily abstract and non-objective in nature, relying on harmony, unity, and the elements of art verses, drawing objects from a discernible reality. She is represented by Local Color Gallery of Nashville, Tennessee. Her paintings have won honorable mention and first place awards in juried shows, and she received a grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women in 2005. Laura’s works reside in several private and corporate collections across the nation, including Classic Art Gallery of Carmel, California, and Paragon Music of Columbus, Ohio.
She is married to poet George Eklund and enjoys spending time with her family and cats when she isn’t painting in her new studio.
Warren Farr, Paducah (McCracken County)
Warren Farr's work has been shown in regional and national exhibitions, including the 1995 New Orleans Triennial at the New Orleans Museum of Art in New Orleans, Louisiana; the 41st Biennial Exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; and The Kentuckians: 1987 at the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art.
Also, Warren has participated in the Southeastern Triennial Exhibition at the Mobile Museum of Art in Mobile, Alabama; the Cheekwood Nationals at the Cheekwood Museum of Art in Nashville, Tennessee; the Water Tower Annual in Louisville, Kentucky; and Common Ground at the Atlanta College of Art in Atlanta, Georgia.
He has received several grants, including a Southern Arts Federation Fellowship and a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation.
Bruce Robert Frank, Georgetown
Bruce Robert Frank received a Bachelor of Design (with minors in Photography and Printmaking) from the University of Florida in 1974, and a Master of Fine Arts in Photography from Florida State University in 1977. He has conducted fine art photography workshops for the Lexington Art League and Artworks (Georgetown, KY). He was a founding member of (no space) Art Foundation from 1977 through 1989, a non-profit organization focusing on art in public places, and its president for five years. He has exhibited in a two-person show at Artsplace in Lexington, Kentucky, juried by the Lexington Arts and Cultural Council (now LexArts), and mounted a successful solo show at the MetroLex Gallery in Lexington in 2003, juried by the Lexington Art League. His piece, “Garden Door,” was accepted as part of the Dynamic Doors: Portals to Creativity exhibit in Lexington, sponsored by the Lexington Arts and Cultural Council, and was featured in the subsequent book detailing the public art project. He is a juried, exhibiting member of the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen, and a member of the Scott County Arts Consortium. He has recently juried into the Kentucky Arts Council Visual
Arts at the Market program, and has exhibited for 3 years.
His current work is an exploration of botanical diversity, incorporating painting and drawing techniques in digital form.
Linda Fugate-Blumer, Lexington (Fayette County)
I am a third generation Kentuckian with a passion for photography. I live in Lexington, Kentucky with my husband Ralph and our two Yorkies. I feel privileged to have been born and raised in Eastern Kentucky. Growing up in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Perry County, I developed a love for the outdoors and a deep appreciation for the people and land. This gave rise to my desire to photograph the beauty of my surroundings and I purchased my first 35mm camera in 1979. After attending the Ohio Institute of Photography in Dayton, Ohio, I became a full time professional portrait photographer. I soon began to study landscape and macro photography, allowing me to create unique portrayals of wildflowers, waterfalls, and landscapes for which I have received numerous awards and recognition.
New developments in technology have allowed me to expand my vision. I now photograph subjects that appeal to me, and through the use of the digital darkroom, I create one of a kind art pieces that nourish my creative spirit. My journey has taken me from traditional photography to the world of fine art.
Elsie Kay Harris, Lexington (Fayette County)
Born and raised in the folds of West Virginia Appalachia, I have always been drawn to the deep creviced mountains of my early years and then to the soft hills and ridges of my later Kentucky years. Even when I travel I make brief pencil sketches of these scenes. These sites, which are the sources of my work, are where I feel an ethereal affection, a simple connectiveness to the land.
The paintings on canvas come from these sketches as I work in my studio in Lexington, now set in a different context. Here I take the liberty of using expressive brush strokes, forms and colors looking to communicate the feeling of the site; the emotion first perceived from the pencil sketch. All of my paintings are one of a kind work, never duplicated.
Rebecca Cathleen “Cathy" Hill, Louisville (Jefferson County)
Cathy is a juried member of the Kentucky Crafted and Visual Arts at the market programs, a painter, sculptor, mixed media artist, textile artist and printmaker. Her most recent venture has been a series of miniature landscapes. Cathy and her husband Chris have a small freelance art business, Hills of Kentucky, and live and work in south Louisville.
Presently, Cathy is illustrating a children’s book titled Red, a variation on the story of Little Red Riding Hood. The first draft of the book will be on display in her booth at Kentucky Crafted: The Market in March.
Emmy Houweling, New Castle (Henry County)
A New Castle, Kentucky resident with an art studio in her circa 1820 historic home, Emmy is a self taught painter who was inspired by an itinerant 18th century Dutch folk artist who drew pictures, cut them out and pasted them on colored paper, then sold them to make a living.
A black background has characterized her style quite definitely as her own, and she signs all her work simply with ‘Emmy.’ Often one will find a barn or building in her paintings laying sideways, she sees this (with a sense of humor), because in reality the person walking to that building is facing it in that manner.
Acrylic on canvas is her preference as a medium and she mostly works on small to medium size canvas, framed in rustic weathered barn wood. Many of her creations have traveled across the United States and to England, France, The Netherlands, Romania, Greece, and Germany.
Michael Thomas McCardwell, Shelbyville (Shelby County)
I was born in Shelbyville in 1949 and have lived in different parts of Kentucky and Virginia. I have been married for thirty-one years and have one child who recently graduated from Oberlin College. I received degrees from Murray State University, Morehead State University and a teaching certificate from University of Louisville. I have been fortunate enough to be included in several fellowship opportunities including two with the National Endowment for the Humanities. I taught at Henry County High School for twenty-seven years, and I have been privileged to continue teaching at Lindsey Wilson College (Shelbyville branch), Spalding University, KCTCS in Shelbyville, and in the LaGrange Reformatory. In addition to teaching, I have worked in a stained glass studio and have done freelance illustration.
I am a member of Shelby Artists on Main, a co-op gallery in Shelbyville. My work has been juried into shows in California, Ohio, Illinois, Tennessee, and Kentucky. My work is represented in collections in the US, Japan and Europe. I am always grateful to the Kentucky Art Council for the assistance they have given me. I credit them with opportunities like my inclusion in the slide registry for SouthernArtisty.org, a juried slide register for artists in the southeast.
Dan McGrath, Lexington (Fayette County)
Dan McGrath has lived in Lexington, Kentucky over 30 years. He retired from business in 2001 to pursue a lifelong interest in art. Twentieth century British and American landscape painters have been a great inspiration, especially Jay Moore, Michael Alexander, Edward Seago, Matt Smith and Landford Monroe. He works in oil and pastel. He has studied under Yvonne Todd, Mary Neely, Booth Malone, Larry Wheeler and Jay Moore.
He is interested in depicting the streams, gorges and fields of Kentucky in order to convey the solitude, peace, and contentment he feels when painting plein aire. He sees beauty all around him in every season and weather and he works to convey this in paintings, where the result is hopefully a painterly realism.
Gary Mesa-Gaido, Morehead (Rowan County)
Gary Mesa-Gaido received his M.F.A. from Ohio University in 1992. Over the last decade, he exhibited his work in over eighty solo, small group, and large group international, national and regional juried exhibitions from New York City to San Francisco.
Mesa-Gaido’s artwork has been supported through various grants and awards, including two Kentucky Arts Council grants. In addition, his pieces are held in the permanent collections of individuals, as well as, organizations including the Pittsburgh Plate and Glass in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the Avampato Discovery Museum in Charleston, West Virginia. Gary Mesa-Gaido is a tenured associate Professor of Art at Morehead State University in Kentucky.
Kevin Muente, Erlanger (Kenton)
Kevin Muente received his BFA in drawing and painting from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1994 and his MFA in painting from the University of Cincinnati in 1999. While working for nationally-known mural artist Timothy Haglund, he assisted in the production of murals at the Hyatt Regency in Milwaukee; the Johnson Wax Worldwide Headquarters in Racine, Wisconsin; and at several private residences. He has exhibited his paintings in various national juried competitions and is currently represented by Heike Pickett Gallery in Versailles, Kentucky. He has garnered several awards and honors including Outstanding Graduating Graduate Student in Fine Arts, Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship, and most recently Artist in Residence at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska. Muente has previously taught at the Milwaukee Art Museum, Missouri Western State College, and is currently Associate Professor of painting at Northern Kentucky University.
Kathleen O’Brien, Harrodsburg (Mercer County)
My father was an Army officer, so my early years were lived in many places around the world. The Italian culture was especially influential. My artistic family nurtured me: my father was a pianist, my mother a fabulous cook, my grandfather a painter.
Boulder, Colorado was my home for 30 years. There I raised my children and continued my art career as a painter and teacher that began in 1968. Through the years I painted portraits, cloudscapes, and petroglyphs and created with many craft forms. Now I focus on mixed-media collages. Consistent with all these expressions is a fascination with transparency. My work has been featured in 150 shows nationally, 12 of them were solo shows. I serve as a board member of the society of Layerists in Multi-Media. Last year, I was the show coordinator for a national SLMM show, “Connections; we are all one” in Lexington.
Letitia Quesenberry, Louisville (Jefferson County)
Letitia Quesenberry graduated with a BFA from the University of Cincinnati in 1993. She has received grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, the Pace Trust and an Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council. Her work has been published in New American Paintings and Pitch Magazine and is represented by Zephyr Gallery in Louisville, KY and Morpeth Gallery in New Jersey. She lives and works in Jefferson County, Kentucky.
Sandy Miller Sasso, Almo (Calloway County)
Sandy Miller Sasso lives in Almo, Kentucky, near Murray. Born and raised in North Carolina, she moved to Kentucky in 1980 to obtain a MA in painting from Murray State University. Sasso has taught art at North Calloway Elementary School since 1994.
Sasso is past recipient of the Kentucky Arts Council Al Smith Fellowship. She has also received past fellowships from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. In April 2006 Sasso received the Sara Shallenberger Brown Foundation Fellowship to attend the 2006 Teacher Institute on Dutch Art in the Golden Age at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. She also received the Faurest Art Educators’ Residency Fellowship to be a resident artist at the Mary Anderson Center for the Arts in New Albany, Indiana. In 2001, her work was included in Kentucky Women Artists: 1850-2000 at the Owensboro Museum of Fine Arts and most recently in the 53rd Mid-States Art Exhibition at the Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science. Her work can be seen at the Mark Palmer Gallery in Paducah, Kentucky.
Carol Shutt, Hillsboro (Fleming County)
Carol Shutt is a professional photographer specializing in documenting Southern culture and history through the camera's lens. After an early career as a registered nurse, followed by a second career as a social worker, Ms. Shutt turned to the camera as a way to simplify her life. Workshops led by professional photographers have supplemented a basically self-taught education in photography. In 2000, Ms. Shutt was juried into the Kentucky Crafted: The Market in the Visual Arts at the Market Program and also into the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen. She is also a member of the Kentucky Arts Council's Kentucky Collection and Platinum 10 programs. Ms. Shutt became a certified Kentucky Community Scholar in 2006. Since 1998, Ms. Shutt's award-winning images have been included in a variety of juried and invitational exhibits throughout Kentucky as well as Arts and Crafts festivals in Kentucky including Kentucky Crafted: The Market, Francisco's Farm and The Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill. Her work can be found in a number of galleries and shops in Kentucky and Tennessee. In an attempt to encourage others interested in developing skills in photography, Ms. Shutt is a co-founder of Photos In Common, a regional photography group designed to support and educate amateur photographers. As a photographer, Ms. Shutt has taught adult community education classes and has conducted photography workshops for elementary, middle school and high school students in extracurricular programs. Ms. Shutt attempts to preserve the history, culture and beauty of the area through her photography. Her goal is to encourage others to recognize the beauty and wonder of the world around them through her images.
Guinever Smith, Louisville (Jefferson County)
Guinever Smith holds an M.F.A. in Painting from the University of Cincinnati and a B.A. in Painting from the University of Louisville. Recent exhibitions include The Uncommon Wealth: Legacy of the Kentucky Arts Council Fellowships in Loudon House in Lexington, Kentucky; Kentucky Women Artists at the Owensboro Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky; and The Ever Changing Landscape at the Kentucky Museum of Arts and Craft in Louisville, Kentucky. In 2001, Smith was featured in the Kentucky Educational Television series Looking at Painting. In 1999, Smith represented the Kentucky Arts Council in a cultural exchange travel program to Ecuador representing the Commonwealth of Kentucky. She is represented by Heike Pickett Gallery in Versailles/Lexington, Kentucky and Zephyr Gallery in Louisville, Kentucky. She is founder and head instructor of Studio School, a private art school, where she teaches painting and drawing.
Karen Spears, Lexington (Fayette County)
Karen Spears has lived in Kentucky for over 20 years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she has a B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of Louisville and an M.F.A. from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. She is a Professor in the Department of Art and Design at Eastern Kentucky University where she currently teaches painting and drawing. Karen has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including a 1992 Al Smith Fellowship and a 2000 Professional Assistance Award from the Kentucky Arts Council. She has traveled, taught and exhibited both regionally and in Europe. She is represented in numerous private and public collections. Karen resides in Lexington (Fayette County), Kentucky with her husband and son.
David Stratton, Owensboro (Daviess County)
David Stratton, MFA, Associate Professor of Art and Graphic Design, has been on the faculty of Brescia University in Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky since 1996. He is the second art faculty member from Brescia University to receive the distinguished Al Smith Fellowship Award. Stratton exhibits nationally and has had over twenty solo exhibitions presenting his paintings, which are predominantly based on Kentucky landscapes and other travel images. Stratton approaches the landscape in his artwork as a starting point, transitioning into an emphasis on color, resulting in a personalized work reflecting an appreciation of both landscape and color nuance. In Kentucky, his work is represented by Heike Pickett Galleries.
Robert Tharsing, Lexington (Fayette County)
Robert Tharsing, a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Art at the University of Kentucky, was born in Santa Monica, California. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1967 with BA and MA degrees. He married Ann Tower in 1973 and they have a daughter, Lina.
Tharsing is known for the breadth of his artwork, making both abstract and representational paintings and sculpture. He has received many awards, including the Phelan Prize at the University of California at Berkeley, and the Al Smith Fellowship, presented by the Kentucky Arts Council. In 1998, Tharsing was the subject of a profile produced by Kentucky Educational Television entitled Master of Art: Robert Tharsing, and in 1999-2000, he conceived, hosted and co-directed a series for KET entitled Looking at Painting. Tharsing's work has been shown regionally, nationally, and internationally and is included in many private and public collections, including the University of Kentucky Art Museum; the J.B. Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY; Dollar General Corporate Offices, Goodlettsville, TN; Alabama Power Company, Birmingham, AL.
Ralph Tyree, Winchester (Clark County)
Ralph Tyree first became interested in photography during a trip to Monterey, California in 2003. After taking several rolls of film, he selected a few favorites and sought comments from a local photographer. That fall, he entered the photography competition at the Morehead Art Guild’s annual exhibit, winning the first place landscape award in the amateur division.
To further pursue this interest, Ralph subscribed to several photography magazines and became an avid reader of books written about photography. He is a member of the Lexington Art League and the Photos In Common Photography Club in Morehead, Kentucky and often attends workshops given by these organizations. He has received multiple acknowledgements in the Photographer’s Forum Spring Photo Contest since 2003.