Flag IV
October 25, 2019, 11:41 pm
Filed under: exhibitions, installations, thorn works

I was invited to exhibit the most recent in a series of American flags made of honey locust thorns in the exhibition, PopUp, in Como, Italy in the fall of this year, 2019.  It was such an honor to exhibit this work in the former Chiesa di San Francesco with a group of artists from across the world. The exhibition was hosted by Miniartextil / Arte & Arte. This is the 29th year for this exhibition.

The thorn flag reflects the angst and frustration, the sense of disarray, contentiousness and the fractious nature of democracy occurring at this moment in America.  The thorns themselves are elegant in their geometry and simplicity, yet daunting in their sense of danger and potential for destruction.  This is similar to the theory of democracy which is elegant in theory, yet dangerous when the freedoms it provides are abused and subverted for nefarious means.

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This project was supported by Miniartextil / Arte & Arte through their invitation to exhibit this work; by an Inspiration Grant from ArtsKC to support shipping of the work; by Studios, Inc. for their ongoing support as a three year Resident Artist; and by the wonderful  installation assistants in Como, Lucia and Anastasia, as well as my equally wonderful studio assistants in Kansas City, of whom there have been a number. My thanks go to all of them, and to the wonderful photographer and friend, EG Schempf, who’s careful and sensitive images have supported my work over the years. Thank you all.  What a pleasure it has been to make this work and to exhibit this work in such a dynamic international venue.


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Exhibition in Como, Italy
August 30, 2019, 10:30 pm
Filed under: exhibitions, installations, thorn works

I have been invited to install this piece, Flag IV, in the exhibition, PopUp, hosted by Miniartextil / Arte & Arte at the Ex Chiesa di San Francesco in Como, Italy this fall. I’m very excited to be a part of this exhibition of international artists.  September 28–November 17, 2019.  The flag will be suspended vertically in a side alcove of the church.  The alcove is 19′ tall, the flag is 11′, so it will be suspended above the viewers’ heads. This photograph was taken by EG Schempf in my studio as a resident artist at Studios, Inc. in Kansas City.  This project has been supported by an Inspiration Grant / ArtsKC .

I hope it expresses something of the elegance and the darkness, even danger at this time, of American democracy.


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Crating of “Rift”
September 18, 2018, 9:02 pm
Filed under: exhibitions, thorn works

The thorn piece, “Rift” is approximately 4′ wide and about 17′ long.  It will be going to the home of a collector in Kansas City in a few weeks. There was a bit of a lag between the time of de-installation of the piece and the re-installation of it in its new environment. I asked for help from a wonderfully talented art handler and mover.  I couldn’t be more pleased with his solution for transporting and storing this piece.  An elegant solution with such a light touch.  Looks like a new piece.  Thanks, Paul Churchill.


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Exhibition at Studios, Inc.
July 4, 2018, 11:25 pm
Filed under: exhibitions, installations, thorn works

This three person exhibition Autonomous Bodies featured the work of the three new resident artists,  Kathy Liao, Benjamin Rosenthal and me. It was on view from May 14 through June 15, 2018, at Studios, Inc. in Kansas City.  The show explored the ways in which the three of us address issues related to the body.  I’m particularly interested in the timeless relationship of the body to the landscape.  My piece, Rift, was related to systems both in the body and the landscape, such as neurological and vascular systems  as well as roots that burrow deeply into the soil.  I also had a series of  photographs, abstractions derived from pyrography,  that blurred line the line between flesh and the cosmos, sand and skin,  the unknown and the knowable.

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River of Solace, River of Hope
November 22, 2017, 3:57 pm
Filed under: exhibitions, installations, thorn works

I currently have a thorn installation, River of Solace, River of Hope,on view at the Nerman Musem of Contemporary Art. It will be up until January 28, 2018 as part of the exhibition, Ephemera.  

Here are a couple of images, shot by photographer, EG Schempf, of the piece:

The installation is about 44’ long. It crawls along two walls and wraps around a corner. It is made of thorns from the honey locust tree, painted with oils. It is the first time that I have used oil paint on these thorns and I found the way that I could rub the paint into the thorns and the depth and variation of color to be very rewarding. The piece is a general reference to the power of art and the power of nature to offer inspiration, renewal and a kind of secular spirituality in these troubled times.

I have a couple of detail images in the strong light of my studio before I installed it at the museum :

Here is another detail taken in the more muted light of the museum gallery shortly after installation. One of these is the same thorn, I think. I respond to the gesture and the elegance of these IMG_0554

A friend asked how I had determined the color palette for this work and I couldn’t come up with a specific response immediately. I had selected some markers to make a drawing and I knew that I wanted them in rather muted tones.

This is an image of a wall in my studio that shows the working palettes and the rags that I used to rub the oil paint into the thorns as I worked…

Another detail of the final piece:

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A few weeks later, I was cleaning out some bark in the garage. There was a piece of bark, about 5-6 feet, from a honey locust tree that I had brought home and left in the garage for about six months, just because it was so lovely with lichen growing on it. I had parked next to it every day for months, and finally realized that I wasn’t going to do anything with it, so I took it out to the green recycling trash. However, I kept a small section and took it back to my studio.

At that point, I realized where the color palette had come from,


October 17, 2017, 2:43 am
Filed under: exhibitions, installations, thorn works

Ephemera   exhibition at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art

October 19, 2017 through January 28, 2018

I am pleased to be one of six sculptors in this exhibition which will be up for the International Sculpture Conference, held in Kansas City in late October.  I’m sharing a gallery with the wonderful Rena Detrixhe, and I’m thrilled to be in the company of these other artists  Kahlil Irving, Miles Neidinger, Michelle Segre and Brian Jungen.

River of Solace, River of Hope (detail)   photograph by EG Schempf

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April 21, 2016, 8:16 pm
Filed under: exhibitions, thorn works

Images from the current exhibition at the Daum Museum
December 3, 2015, 7:35 pm
Filed under: exhibitions, pyrographs, thorn works | Tags: , ,

Here are some recent photographs from the exhibition

Kindred Virtuosities:  Recent work by Miki Baird, Garry Noland and Susan White

at the Daum Museum until December 22. 00IMG72_0366blog 5IMG_0356blog 7IMG_2649blog