Every day is a great day to see art in Topeka. Here are three exhibits available for art lovers to feast their eyes upon in April.
Comfort in cadmium yellow
The Stephen Smith Gallery, 931 S. Kansas Ave., is featuring artwork by Emma Hixson, who is graduating from the University of Kansas in May.
Hixson’s work greets guests upon entering the door of the gallery. Cadmium yellow is prominent in her work, which explores comfort in subject matter, patterns and textures.
Her paintings have been combined with artwork created by students from Washburn Rural and Seaman middle and high schools in a 2022 Art Lockin held at the gallery.
Students were invited based on interest in art and talent. Fifteen students participated. Smith’s granddaughter was one of the students who attended, traveling from Chattanooga, Tenn., to take part.
Art teacher Brad LeDuc, who taught Hixson at Washburn Rural, led the session.
“Each one of the students had to present a couple pictures of their work, and then he put together a slideshow as he introduced each student to everyone else,” gallery owner Smith said.
“And then he showed pictures of Emma, as she was a freshman through her senior years,” he said.
Hixson gave a talk. Afterward, students worked on still life works, which they finished at home and brought back to display. Emma provided the still life items, which included a plush red chair and houseplants, both of which appear in her own art.
More:NOTO’s Redbud Festival springs to life with arts, entertainment and more through May 7
‘Emma, you’re a painter’
Hixson will graduate with a bachelor of arts degree, double majoring in fine art, with an emphasis on painting, and illustration at the school of design.
Hixson said LeDuc and KU painting professor Michael McCaffrey were big influences on her career choice. McCaffrey noticed her talent right away. “Emma, you’re a painter,” he said during her freshman year.
Hixson has plans after graduation to create a space in Lawrence with fellow graduates.
“We’re all getting a house together, and we’re gonna split it up into studio spaces, and we’re gonna call it the Lawrence Paint House,” she said.
The group hopes to critique each other’s work and apply to shows together.
“It will be a space for us to work,” she said. “We will hopefully have some small shows in the home and expand the Lawrence art community,” she said. “They don’t really have just solid painting places.”
Hixson’s and the students’ finished works will be on display at Stephen Smith Gallery through April and are for sale.
The gallery is open 11 am to 6:30 pm Tuesday through Friday and 11 am to 3:30 pm Saturday.
For more information, call (785) 354-7153 or visit https://www.stephensmithgallery.com/.
More:Topeka offers plenty of opportunities for hiking and biking. These 9 trails stand out.
2022 Washburn Art Student Exhibition
Those who wish to view the 2022 Washburn Art Student Exhibition at the Mulvane Art Museum, 1700 SW Jewell Ave., will need to visit by Saturday.
The competition, which has been taking place for more than 15 years, features 27 works by 14 art majors.
Materials and tools offer the viewer an eclectic mix, including more traditional media like painting, still-life drawing and photography, as well as less traditional pieces like a carved wooden fox and a piece featuring fishes made with pottery and plastic disposable bottles.
“The goal is to showcase what the faculty and students are doing,” said Connie Gibbons, museum director.
Two students, Grace Lindman and Darby Rolf, were named recipients of the Charles A. and Margaret W. Pollak Award. They were awarded monetary prizes and will have one of their artworks added into the Mulvane’s collection.
Another student, Carley Nelson, received the 2022 Award for Outstanding Achievement by the Topeka Branch of National League of American Pen Women.
The exhibition’s juror was Stephen Johnson, lecturer in Illustration and Animation at the University of Kansas.
Purchase a miniature art souvenir
For those who miss the students’ exhibit, Mulvane Art Museum still has plenty to offer, including a 16th century painting by an unknown artist depicting the meeting of the Bible’s Old Testament figures David and Abigail, as well as a portrait of Cardinal Sebastiano del Piombo by Italian painter Jacobo Bassano.
There is even a lithograph by Pablo Picasso and works by many other more contemporary artists.
Before leaving, guests can purchase a miniature art souvenir from the museum’s retro art vending machine, which contains items like tiny paintings and jewelry. The $5 token is available for purchase at the front entrance desk.
The Mulvane Art Museum is open noon to 7 pm Tuesdays, noon to 5 pm Wednesday through Friday and noon to 4 pm Saturday.
For more information, call (785) 670-1124 or visit the Mulvane Art Museum’s website https://mulvaneartmuseum.org/.
More:Looking for free, fun things to do with the kids in Topeka? Here are 7 sites worth visiting.
Relying more on creative intuition
This month’s exhibit at NexLynx Gallery, 123 SW 6th Ave., features the work of Becky Drager.
After 11 years of being a professional painter, she is exploring a new direction, relying more on creative intuition, much like impressionist painters.
Using a “paint over” technique with several of her pieces, Drager takes older paintings and adds new perspectives by painting over them in a less precise manner.
This paint-over technique led Drager to start using new canvases as well. She paints those with bigger blocks of color using broader, energetic brushstrokes. Coloring outside her lines is a little scary according to the gallery.
NexLynx Gallery of Arts is open 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday, and until 8 pm for First Friday Art Walks. Drager’s work will be available for viewing through the end of April.
For more information, call (785) 232-5969 or visit http://www.galleryofarts.org/.