Joe Bussell ● Greg Edmondson ● Andrea Fuhrman ●
Char Schwall ● Jenn Wiggs
Please join us on 3rd Friday, May 20th, as Kiosk Gallery presents desmosome, an exhibition of works by five artists who earned MFAs from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri in the 1980s and ‘90s. This exhibition includes paintings by Andrea Fuhrman, Jenn Wiggs, Char Schwall, and Greg Edmondson, as well as sculptural works by Joe Bussell.
1a specialized structure of the cell membrane especially of an epithelial cell that serves as a zone of adhesion to anchor contiguous cells together.
2a plaquelike site on a cell surface that functions in maintaining cohesion with an adjacent cell.
As these artists were working through MFA programs at their shared alma mater in the 1980s and ‘90s, the world around them roiled in a culture war about artistic censorship and grappled with the AIDS crisis – with some of these artists having deeply affecting experiences in those spaces. Today, they are working in a culture that struggles to find a path forward post-Trump and what we can only hope is the receding tide of another pandemic. While the artists in this exhibition eschew directly representational imagery, their cultural context finds its way into their work through their references to biology and their hopeful imaginations.
In this exhibition, images are colorful, whether through intentional color study or playful action. The forms are round, drippy, smudged, or sharply cut. They are organic, connective, floating, influenced in some ways by nature, biology, desire, or imagination. The artists do not comprise a strictly bordered group with a manifesto; they are more like connected cells floating together in a watery space.
1 “Desmosome.” Merriam-Webster, 2022. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/desmosome
2 “Desmosome.” Dictionary.com, 2022. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/desmosome
Friday, May 20th, 6-9 pm
Saturdays 12-4 pm, and by appointment
Saturday, May 28th
Saturday, July 2nd
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
In the process of making 2-D or 3-D art I add what makes sense and subtract what doesn’t. That is a process that can take years or be realized in a day. What I add or what I keep represents my history, dreams, memories, and personal aesthetic. I want the finished piece to translate the psychological loop and tell a complete story.
The development of my visual language took on new heights while living in London, Boston, Los Angeles, and various cities in the Midwest. Most vividly, I worked in an AIDS hospice for five years. The experiences at the hospice are forever seared into my always expanding queer abstract language.
I have maintained my professional contemporary art practice for over 40 years. In that time, I received my BFA in painting at Kansas University and my MFAs in painting and ceramics at Washington University in Saint Louis. I exhibit widely in the U.S. and Europe. Currently, my indoor/outdoor studio is in Kansas City, Kansas. I’m also proud of the solo shows I had at the TAI Gallery in New York City, Monty Gallery in Rome, Italy, and The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art.
My recent paintings are attempts at giving visible form to the invisible content of daily life – explorations of moments or experiences too small, too vast, too vague or too complex to be seen clearly. They are formal and abstract, but without certainty or authority. I’ve come to think of them as “bashful Modernism.” Frequently a painting’s original intent will become sidetracked or hijacked by small discoveries made along the way. They straddle a blurry boundary between intention and response. In much the way we ourselves are, they are each shaped by the unexpected.
Greg Edmondson earned a BFA from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and MFA from Washington University in St. Louis. He is the recipient of numerous grants and awards including Fulbright and DAAD fellowships to Germany, and residency grants to Artpark, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Santa Fe Art Institute, and Künstlerwerkstatt Lothringerstrasse. His recent solo exhibitions include The Impermanence of Objects – works on paper 2014-2020, The Cole Center, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas; Before Language, The Blanden Museum of Art, Ft. Dodge, Iowa; and DARK MATTER (with physicist and poet Agnes Vojta), The Smalter Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri.
My earliest primary visual experience was viewing my father’s biology slides through his microscope. The tiny abstract array of fluid shapes and stains was mesmerizing. So, I have made works that correspond to that imagery, such as collage, sculpture, installation and painting.
My current work describes both opaque and transparent layers of acrylics in podlike shapes that refer to cells, water droplets, seeds. Ovals, rolled out by brayers, are like eggs, pods, seeds— that imply growth. Chroma is oxygen and texture; a weaving of forms with color vibrations.
The brayer is a patient dancer, as each color must dry before another is introduced. I explore process. The elliptical forms on paper have overlapping painted forms. They intersect and touch. The overall array of oval forms offers meditative color and shape variations.
Fuhrman earned her MFA from Washington University, St. Louis, and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. International artist residencies include Kolin Ryynänen, Finland and Julia & David White Foundation, Costa Rica. Nationally, residencies at UCROSS, and Jentel, both in WY; Helene Wurlitzer, Taos; the Millay Colony in Austerlitz, NY. She has exhibited nationally, including the Textile Arts Centre, Chicago, AIR Gallery, Chelsea, NY, and Pence Gallery, Davis, CA; in Kansas: Salina Art Center, Lawrence Arts Center, Strecker Nelson West, the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery, and Diver Studio. Her public art work has been commissioned by the City of Salina, KS and has been placed in collections across the USA.
Char Schwall’s gouache paintings investigate her longstanding interest in curvilinear and organic formations found in nature connected to life, growth, and water imagery. In each work, interdependent elements create compositions that explore diverse organic systems and are evocative of flora and fauna of the natural world. Her aesthetic explores trajectories of growth, the expansion of organic systems, and morphology (the form of living organisms and their structures). Compositions are created through the use of overlapping forms, and visual elements that come together, touch, and in one sense caress one another. There is interplay of containment and lack of containment among the distinct relational parts. Color is an essential element employed to compose the spaces of the paintings.
Char Schwall is an artist and arts educator with extensive experience in multidisciplinary education. She is an artist in the area of painting, drawing, and fiber. Her work investigates principles of growth and organic systems, color as a language, gendered space, and fluidity. She recently participated in exhibitions at the Bruno David Gallery, H&R Block ArtSpace 2021 Flatfiles series, and Habitat Contemporary. She has participated in solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally, and recently completed a Zoom artist residency at Proyetó ace, Buenos Aires, Argentina. As an early childhood educator, Schwall has extensively studied the educational system in the municipality of Reggio-Emilia, Italy, and co-edited and co-authored the book, In the Spirit of the Studio: Learning from the Atelier of Reggio Emilia. She holds a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute, and an MFA from Washington University in St. Louis.
The language of abstraction is broad, and for me, poetic. My paintings are metaphors for myself, for my inner thoughts, and connections both conscious and unconscious. The process involves discovery of layers of meaning. I use elements of the landscape to express my ideas about space and color. I favor ambiguous shapes that stay free of description. Ambiguity allows a broader context for meanings and associations. I invent pictorial cues that are suggested by the painting. For example, a flat shape that casts a shadow. My imagination is a key to unlock unseen relationships. I do draw from nature, but retreat as quickly as I can, to avoid getting sucked in.
The element of color is my strong suit, my best hand. I tend to favor close color harmonies and nuanced pairings. Using gouache has been central in developing my voice, as a flat, matte partner to the transparency of watercolor. Using both mediums together allows great spatial dexterity; the watercolor suggesting atmosphere, and the matte gouache being insistently flat.
I am drawn to the beauty of paper, the tactile surface, its limitless and deep white space, the expansive possibilities of it.
Mature artists develop a voice that is uniquely their own. For me, the symbolic landscape, my choice of medium and form, are my signature.
Jenn Wiggs is an American painter specializing in abstract works featuring simple shapes in subtle and complex color harmonies. She studied at Indiana University (BFA) and Washington University, St. Louis (MFA). She maintains an active studio at Orr Street Studios in Columbia, Missouri. She specializes in teaching color, design and painting with an emphasis on the creative process. Last year her work was included in the prestigious 58th Annual Watercolor USA National Exhibition, and The Bowery Gallery’s 28th National Exhibition, New York.