Philadelphia artist Paul Santoleri’s wall-sized, floor-to-ceiling drawings, now on view at the Kansas City Artists Coalition, immerse viewers in a dream-like world. In this walk-in installation, robust yet graceful curvilinear lines fold over each other in rhythmic patterns charged with harmonious movement.
Though he often works in color, Santoleri chose a black and white palette for his KCAC exhibit. Working in acrylic, ink, graphite, and vinyl on canvas and paper, he abstracts natural forms to create metaphors for the inevitable cycle of beauty and decay.
When the show ends, so does this work.
“Nothing is really permanent, no matter how hard we try to make it so,” Santoleri says. “I do make art that will last and it’s not my dream to disappear like the wind, but there’s something inspiring about work that is so much ‘of the moment.’ This work is about the energy I can contribute to the world through the healing nature of art.”
During his May residency in Kansas City, Santoleri also created a mural in the alley off 5th Street between Wyandotte and Delaware. The large-scale work features three lyrical feathers, a motif Santoleri has explored in numerous commissions and installations throughout the world.
Like Santoleri, the starting point for Nebraska-based Karen Kunc’s handmade books is line. Using collograph, aquatint, and wood block, along with watercolor, gold leaf, and other media applied to handmade papers, she creates a quietly powerful viewing experience, drawing us into her universe as we hold, unfold and turn the books’ pages.
Subtle layers of color —the artist favors blue and orange —resonate through Kunc’s abstract patterns, which include recurrent elliptical or circular shapes, subtle in both nuance and detail.
“Field Trip,” an accordion-style book measuring 6 by 6 inches folded and 6 by 94 inches unfolded, moves through nature’s seasonal profusion, desiccation, and human encroachment.
In a departure from the organic, spherical shapes, the impenetrable “Glass Towers” speak to the disparity and disconnect between our world and the natural ideal.
“Evocations,” an accordion book inspired by a Hafiz poem, includes the following line, “The hand sat in the classroom of the eye and soon learned to love beauty.”
Displayed in the Artist Coalition’s first floor galleries, Santoleri and Kunc’s works converge in their concern for man’s relationship with the natural world.
In the Underground Gallery, Kansas City artist John Lamberton photographed a variety of light sources with multiple exposures and then used a cutting-edge, dye-sublimation process on metal to create luminous 3-D work. Inspired by his passion for quantum physics, vibrant flashes and flares of light fly across the metal surfaces of the images, which are intended to be viewed through 3-D glasses.
In the Snap Space Gallery, textile artist Meghan Rowswell explores the sense of touch in “Fondle Friendly,” an interactive exhibit where viewers are invited to experience the tactile possibilities of the artwork. The exhibit is a whimsical collection of soft sculptures representing various parts of the human anatomy. Inspired by medical dissection illustrations, Rowswell has integrated nerves, muscles, and other anatomical elements into her play-friendly sculptures.
The four exhibitions at the Kansas City Artist’s Coalition, 201 Wyandotte St., continue through June 29. Hours are 11 a. m to 5 p.m. Wednesday- Saturday. For more information 816.421.5222 or www.kansascityartistscoalition.org.