September 23 – November 6, 2022, the Hansen Museum is proud to host the exhibition of Jerry and Cat Nibarger’s Collection of Bob Ross Memorabilia. Jerry, a Coca-Cola diesel mechanic and wife Cat, a stay-at-home mom and certified Bob Ross painting instructor, have graciously agreed to debut their personal collection of Ross artifacts at the Hansen Museum.
Interest in Bob Ross began when a friend showed Jerry a Ross original painting leaning against a wall in his spare bedroom. Viewing that painting sparked their interest and when another friend presented Jerry and Cat with the opportunity to purchase a Ross original painting, the fire was ignited. Unknowingly, owning a Bob Ross original painting—a beautiful seascape—was all the fuel needed to turn Jerry and Cat into full blown Bob Ross collectors. In the process of authenticating artifacts, the Nibargers encountered Dana Jester. Jester, one of the late Bob Ross’ closest friends and colleagues, became a wonderful resource and close friend. Through the years the Nibargers have widened the scope of their collection far beyond paintings. This exhibition includes all manner of artifacts and relics. We invite viewers to join us this fall in celebrating one of pop culture’s most celebrated artists at the Hansen Museum.
Rodney Zimmerman Pottery
On View from July 22 – September 18, 2022
Rodney Zimmerman is a Hobby Potter and Ceramic Artist living in Colby, Kansas. His recent practice has focused most on researching and exploring the alternative finishing techniques of Pit Firing, Raku Firing, and associated techniques used to manipulate and decorate pieces while at temperatures between 800- and 1600-degrees Fahrenheit. Creating artwork in this volatile way causes a high percentage of breakage in pieces yet creates unique and intricate patterns that can never be predicted or re-created.
Rodney was first exposed to ceramics and pottery while attending elementary school in Hoxie, Kansas. Creating with clay instantly grabbed his attention as he was encouraged to experiment and create throughout the duration of his elementary and secondary education.
Zimmerman’s interest in Horticulture and Landscape Design led him to Nebraska to attend college where he completed his degrees before returning to Kansas to begin his Landscaping career.
Rodney rediscovered his love for clay in 2014 after being invited to join a community outreach ceramics course at Colby Community College. The excitement and inspiration instantly returned and led Zimmerman to begin to meld his two greatest interests: Plants and Art!
Nature serves as inspiration for many of Zimmerman’s pieces. His talent for creating unique, decorative and functional pottery alongside intricate decorative pieces inspires fellow potters and artists alike. He is always quick to teach and assist others in their own artistic journey. Rodney also enjoys creating ceramic growing environments for interesting plant species he has collected. “I always try to bring memories home in a physical, tactile form. Caring for a plant I’ve collected, or working on a piece of pottery to house a specific plant, instantly brings me back to memories created while out exploring, ” said Zimmerman.
Rodney can be found expanding his education and experiences while continuing to take ceramics classes at Colby Community College as well as experimenting in his home studio. He continues to find inspiration from nature while researching alternative firing and finishing techniques online.
Cultivating the Dutch Tradition in the 21st Century: Jane Jones’ Hyperrealist Floral Paintings
On View from May 27 – July 17, 2022
Jane Jones, Rose Duet, 35 x 32 inches, 2018, oil on board
CULTIVATING THE DUTCH TRADITION IN THE 21st CENTURY, Jane Jones’ Floral Paintings is an exhibition that consists of twenty-five floral paintings produced by the artist from 2012 through 2021. The emergence of the Dutch school of painting in the early seventeenth century is one of the most extraordinary phenomena in the history of the visual arts. Jane Jones works within the context of 17th-century Dutch floral painters such as Maria van Oosterwyck (1630 – 1693), Maria Sibylla Merian (1647 – 1717), and Rachel Ruysch (1664-1750). But while Jones has been a life-long student of 17th-century Dutch floral painting, she takes a contemporary stylistic approach to her own work, producing compositions which are spare and elegant.
Jane Jones, On the Edge, 34 x 40 inches, 2020, oil on canvas
Peter Trippi, Editor-in-Chief, Fine Art Connoisseur, New York explains it this way: “Jones has an admirable gift for banishing extraneous details in order to focus on the elegance of flowers, juxtaposing their organic forms with the geometric rigidity of their vases, and the stones she sometimes includes, and even of the square or rectangular canvas itself. Her still life paintings highlight what Jones calls the ‘everyday triumphs of nature’ and the ‘power, beauty, and fragility of life,’ none of which should ever be taken for granted.”
While Jones’ paintings respond to works from the Dutch Golden Age, they also take cues from science. Having earned degrees in biology as well as art history, the artist says, “The most important things I took away from my science education were a deep respect for living systems and ecology, their inherent homeostasis, and the importance of precision when observing nature.” Jane Jones also possesses a deep and un-abiding concern, an ethic if you will, about the disruption of the balance of nature that is caused by climate change.
Jane Jones Cover image Circle of Light
Of Jane Jones’ work, Michael Charles Tobias, Ph.D., President, Dancing Star Foundation, Sante Fe, NM, says: “From Genesis 2:8-9 where God ‘planted a garden eastwards in Eden’ to 17th century Jan Van Kessel the Elder’s exquisitely detailed portrayal of Vertumnus—guardian of gardens, to early 20th century works like Odilon Redon’s Flowers in a Turquoise Vase (1905), human aesthetic rapture has found its myriad safe havens and perennial longing in botany. Jane Jones, like few contemporary American painters, has invented a most elegant way of communicating the rapture and metaphysics of a flower. She does so with a technically photorealistic honesty and fluency that is poignant and astonishing. Jones’ work is both stark and lush; a vivid wake-up call. It declares the innocence, vulnerability and gorgeous allure of the more than 370,000 flowering plant species on Earth. Her work will stand as a unique rallying cry, an open and perfumed invitation to be re-enchanted by all that grows and co-evolves with us.”
Jane Jones Indoor 1 Garden of Joy
Jane Jones is a Denver native and continues to live near there at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, where the light that she loves is bright and clear, and the seasons, which influence her work, are definite in their character and moods. Though she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, Jane Jones chose not to work in that field. Of her science education she says it enabled her to look “into the lives of cells, plants, animals and ecosystems gave me a glimpse into the awesome power of living things and an incredible respect for them.” Her hyper-realistic style includes many layers of glazing to create the colors that best represent the glorious expression of color in sunlit flowers. Symbols are used to communicate her love of nature, and the threats that nature faces, while presenting their need to be protected and nurtured.
Jones exhibits her work in museums and galleries across the United States. Her paintings have won numerous national awards including the Award of Excellence in\ Blossom ~ Art of Flowers which premiered at the Naples Museum of Art and was toured nationally by David J. Wagner, L.L.C.; and the Floral Award in the Annual Exhibition of the International Guild of Realism in 2013 and 2018. She is the author of Classic Still Life Painting and is represented by galleries in Denver, New York, Santa Fe, and Scottsdale.
Jane Jones, Party of Two, 59 x 78 inches, 2019, oil on canvas
CULTIVATING THE DUTCH TRADITION IN THE 21st CENTURY, Jane Jones’ Floral Paintings is sponsored by Culture Trove – A Traveling Exhibitions Database for Museum Professionals based on Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Curator of the exhibition is David J. Wagner, who earned his Ph.D. in American Studies and served as a museum director for 20 years. He also serves as President of David J. Wagner, L.L.C., a Wisconsin-based company that produces and manages traveling museum exhibitions. For further information, contact: David J. Wagner, Ph.D., Curator/Tour Director, Office Phone: (414) 221-6878, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: davidjwagnerllc.com.
“I have loved and been influenced by the flowers and symbolism of17th-Century Dutch Still Life painting for many years and have worked to figure out and incorporate symbolism into my paintings for a long time. In the paintings made specifically for this exhibit, that symbolism has become more pointed and direct. This exhibit presents paintings with the ideas of risk and protection but goes further to express my concern and fear about the changes and destruction of this planet due to Climate Change.” Jane Jones
Jane Jones, Party of Two, 59 x 78 inches, 2019, oil on canvas
Under Pressure – A Survey of Contemporary Airbrush Realism
UNDER PRESSURE – PAINTING WITH AIR (A Survey of Contemporary Airbrush Realism) is on view at the Hansen Museum now through May 22, 2022. This exhibition is comprised of 45 works, wide-ranging in theme, by noteworthy, working artists who have chosen airbrush as their principal medium of expression. According to the exhibit’s Curator, David J. Wagner, UNDER PRESSURE – PAINTING WITH AIR has been a long time in coming: “The earliest, and perhaps the last exhibition to broadly survey airbrushed fine art that I am aware of was The Artist and The Airbrush, curated by Barbara Rogers, herself an accomplished artist, 40 years ago at the Art Department of San Jose State University in California where she served on the faculty.” Two of the artists whose work was featured in that seminal exhibition who are still active today, have current work in UNDER PRESSURE – PAINTING WITH AIR — Don Eddy (b. 1944) and Jerry Ott (b. 1947) — as does another, George Green (1943-2020), though he passed away unexpectedly during the organization of UNDER PRESSURE – PAINTING WITH AIR. This exhibition is comprised of works by these and the artists who followed in their footsteps including several of today’s younger generation of accomplished airbrush masters.
Airbrush as a medium may be known to most people as a go-to medium for commercial artists who decorate a broad range of material culture beyond fine art, such as t-shirts, sporting equipment and vehicles ranging from boats to pickup trucks, semis, cars and motorcycles, etc. In the ‘50’s and ‘60’s, it became a go-to medium for the so-called Kustom Kulture, a neologism that refers to styles and fashions associated with custom cars and motorcycles in the United States particularly the hot rod culture of Southern California. Then there is animation, the culinary arts, body art, make up, and tattoos. You name it, and airbrush artists seem to have covered it in one form or another. As would be expected, many commercially successful airbrush artists possess incredible skill, but many lack true artistry, which may be the reason the medium has been unfairly maligned or ignored by highbrow aesthetes over the years.
Though a hip medium in the world of commercial art today, airbrush is actually a nineteenth-century invention. Francis Stanley, who with his twin brother became famous for the Stanley Steamer, patented a simple “atomizer” airbrush to colorize photographs in 1876. An instrument called the “paint distributor,” which relied on a hand-operated compressor to supply continuous air, was developed in 1879 by Abner Peeler “for the painting of watercolors and other artistic purposes.” A commercial prototype was developed by Liberty Walkup who re-patented it under a name suggested by his wife: “air-brush.” She would go on to establish the Illinois Art School in Rockford where airbrushing would be taught. Seventy-five miles north and a decade later, Charles Burdick revolutionized the air brush in Madison, Wisconsin. Patented in 1892, his airbrush was a double-action, internal-mix airbrush similar to those used today. It contained paint somewhat like a fountain pen and featured an index finger trigger with the air supply re-positioned through the bottom, which improved balance and control. Burdick’s invention was promoted by Thayer and Chandler, a Chicago mail order arts and crafts retailer, which also showcased it at the 1892 World Columbian Exposition. As other improvements ensued the medium took off. Today, airbrushes are used for countless commercial applications, as well as fine art.
In the world of fine art, Man Ray (1890–1977), remembered to many as a force of the Dada and Surrealism art movements, was among the first to employ airbrush in the production of fine art. Alberto Vargas (1896–1992), the pioneering artist who had emigrated from Peru to the U.S. after studying art in Europe, used airbrush in combination with watercolors, to produce his signature pin-ups, which associated airbrush with so-called girlie pictures, an association that has trended to this day. With the emergence of Photorealism in the mid and late 1960’s, the airbrush assumed a special place of distinction as a favorite medium among the first generation of artists practicing that style in America, e.g., Paul Sarkisian (1928-2019) and Ben Schonzeit (b. 1942) though he stopped airbrushing about a decade ago and no longer works in airbrush today. Interestingly, this phenomenon hasn’t just been male dominated. In addition to Barbara Rogers (b. 1937), Audrey Flack (b. 1931), for example, projected images onto canvas instead of making preliminary drawings, and developed a method of applying paint in layers with an airbrush. Others followed. After the first wave of Photorealists in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, younger artists produced work that extended the medium of airbrush in new and interesting ways, notably, in the stylistic realm of what has become known as, Hyperrealism. Today, work by artists who use airbrush embodies a diverse range of style, subject matter, and technique.
Of the artists exhibiting in UNDER PRESSURE – PAINTING WITH AIR, Southerner, Dru Blair (Charleston, SC), is widely known as much for his art as he is an educator having founded his Blair School of Art in the ‘90’s in Raleigh, NC which he operates today in Charleston. To demonstrate his impact, examples of work by several former students now having their own successful careers are also featured: Silvia Belviso (from Italy, now residing in Charleston), David Evanoff (Cleveland, GA), and Joshua Zarambo (Richmond, VA). In addition to this younger generation, and the older masters previously mentioned — Don Eddy (New York, NY), George Green, and Jerry Ott (Duluth, MN) – others exhibiting in UNDER PRESSURE – PAINTING WITH AIR, include some of the very best who have ever worked with the medium: Bruce Evans (Philadelphia, PA), Kirk Lybecker (Portland, OR), Alan Pastrana (Queens, NY; with studio in Plainville, CT), Cesar Santander (New York, NY), and Hisaya Taira (Tokyo, Japan). PAINTING WITH AIR features a diverse selection of works by each of these artists to share with viewers the breadth and depth of each artist’s oeuvre and their artistic prowess. As such, the exhibit is a celebration of artistic virtuosity and achievement through a unique, American medium: airbrush. Serving as Curator for UNDER PRESSURE – PAINTING WITH AIR, is David J. Wagner, who earned his Ph.D. in American Studies and served as a museum director for 20 years. For booking information, contact: DAVID J. WAGNER, L.L.C., EXHIBITION TOUR OFFICE (414) 221-6878; email@example.com; davidjwagnerllc.com
A proud tradition since 1976, the Hansen Museum has partnered with art instructors to provide a professional gallery experience for their high school art students. In allowing these student artists to display their work in the Museum, our hope is to inspire them; to fuel their passion for art, and to encourage them to continue creating past their high school years. The 2022 show featured student artists from Hill City, Phillipsburg, Pike Valley, Community, TMP-Marian, Trego Community, Brewster, and Smith Center High Schools. The 45th Annual High School Art Show was on display from January 28 to February 27, 2022.