Jane Pronko, Let the Sunshine In, Oil on Canvas, 24” x 30”
“Rejoin,” an exhibit at the gallery at HJ’s Youth & Community Center, represents the coming together of nine women artists in the Re: Gen group for the first time since the onset of the pandemic. In 2016, seven of the women exhibited together for the first time at the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art; the current exhibit marks their third joint effort. While all the women teach or have taught art, their group objective is to facilitate more exhibition opportunities for their work. “Rejoin” offers not just an opportunity to see work by multiple artists, but a chance to appreciate a great variety of media and approaches in the creations presented.
Sharon Hunter-Putsch utilizes watercolor in her colorful and textured abstractions, citing love and loss as a recent source of inspiration. Vibrant colors and graphics dominate silk scarves designed by Catherine Vesce, which are printed in London and certainly earn their moniker of “wearable art.”
Two artists focus on flowers. Janet Kuemmerlein, an artist perhaps best known for her textiles, here offers the viewer another aspect of her talent in a group of small acrylic paintings of calla lilies. Diana Werts admits to having a “personal connection to plants.” Her oils of blossoms and abstracted prints of other flowers demonstrate the ways she is energized by the natural world.
In contrast, the urban-themed landscapes of Jane Pronko feature busy streets with cars, as well as some recognizable Kansas City landmarks. Pronko has long been inspired by the city, often utilizing a nocturnal setting to add an element of drama. Donna Bachman’s assemblages juxtapose unexpected elements such as a sculpted hand, keys, found objects shells and a plastic spoon. Her artist’s statement reveals that she believes art should be “beautiful, strong and strange,” a goal which she achieves with these sculptural works.
Lynn Richardson stands out as the only artist here to depict figures. Her watercolor and ink renditions of females, some nude, some clothed, some wearing face masks, offer us a momentary reminder of current life.
Carol Zastoupil paints landscapes, “but not real places.” Her use of unusual pastel hues underscores this point of view. Zastoupil says her palette is almost like handwriting, in that her color choices reveal something so inherent that she finds it extremely difficult to modify them.
A group of archival pigment prints by Megan Wyeth are also included in the exhibition. Wyeth writes of her “love and interest in how light changes.” Despite familiar titles such as “St. Joseph,” “Kansas City,” “Platte Landing” or “Riverwalk Park,” the artist has upended their reality, adding color and using fragments of images to manipulate her compositions.
With all the varied components of “Rejoin,” there is certainly something for every taste. Many works are for sale, with a commission going to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, which oversees the center.
“RE: Gen ‘Rejoin’” continues at The Gallery at HJ’s, 6425 Wornall Rd. through Jan. 7. Gallery hours vary; call 816.606.3239 or visit www.hjsbrookside.org for hours and more information.