Given the time he’s put into organizing and hanging the January exhibition at McPherson College, the advice of Wayne Conyers, professor of art, might come as a surprise:
Don’t see the work.
“Don’t look at the work with your eyes,” he said. “Instead, I would invite you to take time and instead feel the work with your eyes.”
Through Feb. 8, Friendship Hall at McPherson College will be filled with the work of professional artists Jim Rigg of Manhattan, Kan., and Donna Brigman of Hutchinson, Kan. Rigg is known for his abstract and geometric work, while Brigman works with watercolor, incorporating acrylic and molding paste, and has painted subjects including Kansas landscapes and floral abstracts.
Conyers said that Rigg and Brigman are both inspired by nature, but not in a literal sense. The abstract forms in their work suggest toward the natural world, but are not meant to replicate it.
“Feel the layering tones of paint in Donna’s work,” he said. “Feel the combination of rich textures. Feel the balance of organic forms in her work. Feel the movement as colors meld together in small spaces. References to nature abound in her work, but you have to feel it. If you just look for it, you’ll miss it. Feel that within these earthy images, precious treasures such as gold are embedded in the earth just waiting to be discovered.”
Rigg’s art, meanwhile, gives the feeling of the natural world’s complex structures.
“Feel with your eyes the strata that is revealed right here in the Flint Hills of Kansas, using color subjectively,” Conyers said. “Feel the same textural elements, but with Jim’s work, texture is fused with structure—layers of structure if you will. Jim’s abstractions are much more geometric than Donna’s, but the inspiration for both artists is very, very closely related.”
An artists’ reception will be free and open to the public on the closing evening of the exhibition from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 8.