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Wilbur Niewald – Recent Paintings + Works from the 50’s and 60’s
April 7, 2017 - May 6, 2017
Two simultaneous exhibitions by KCAI Professor Emeritus of Painting, Wilbur Niewald (BFA ’49; MFA’53 painting) will be opening Friday, April 7 at Haw Contemporary. A reception with the artist will be from 6-9PM.
The paintings of Wilbur Niewald have a deep and persistent connection to his lifetime home of Kansas City, and in a larger sense, to the history of painting itself. After developing a unique abstract language for his paintings in the fifties and sixties, Niewald began to paint in the representational style in 1970, and has continued exclusively in that vein in the decades since. His timeless still lifes, studio portraits, and landscapes are invariably executed through direct observation in an untiring endeavor to render familiar scenes with new clarity through repetition. Niewald’s devotion to his craft, and to the tradition of painting, is axiomatic in the works included in Recent Paintings, which travels here from a recent run at the New York Studio School – his first at that institution in 22 years.
Works from the ‘50s and ‘60s
Works from the ‘50s and ‘60s showcases the early work of Kansas City legendary Wilbur Niewald. In the ‘50s, Niewald focused almost exclusively on the landscape, responding to basic forces and rhythms from his subjects. Creating gestural drawings with charcoal and crayon, he would return to the studio and use these drawings as source material for abstracted paintings in oil. He continued with this method in the ‘60s, but the work itself became more open and expansive, and the palette turned bright and primary in color. Scale increased and the handling was freer, and Niewald utilized lines and undertones of color to create dynamic compositions through broad rhythmic strokes – a language that he employed for a decade. Toward the end of the ‘60s, while still abstract, more identifiable forms began to appear in the work. By 1970, Niewald had fully adopted the representational style he continues to employ today, which can be seen in this exhibition’s sister show, Recent Paintings.
Gallery Hours: 9-5 Tuesday through Friday, 12-5 Saturday