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Kandt debuts in New York: Asian Festival returns

BY CHRIS SHULL, The Wichita Eagle

James Kandt's first art show was held in Colorado in 1976. His second will open on Friday at a gallery in New York City.

Kandt's paintings will be hung in the Agora Gallery in Chelsea, part of a large exhibit of paintings and digital art. Eight medium-large canvases depict forests, many from the perspective of looking up the tree trunks into the leafy canopy and sky.

"It kind of gives you the feeling of when you were a kid and you were running around and you get real tired and you fall down on the ground and you look up at the trees," Kandt said.

Just because he's preparing for just his second art show in 31 years doesn't mean Kandt has ignored art all these years. Kandt has enjoyed a successful career in advertising as a graphic artist -- for 14 years at Sullivan Hidgon & Sink, and for the last 15 years running his own marketing firm.

"I never really set out to be a landscape artist," Kandt admitted.

But using a camera and his computer as his sketch book, Kandt found a unique way to explore familiar forest scenes.

"Instead of pulling back in a long shot where you've got the horizons and a whole bunch of trees, and a river or mountains or whatever -- I've developed a very intimate look at the landscape," Kandt explained. "I'm doing it getting right in the middle of the trees. It is abstract realism."

The dizzying perspectives of his paintings have viewers craning their necks to find the "real" balance of the pictures. Kandt's color choices -- hues pushed (or paled) just beyond true-to-life adds electricity (or anxiety) to the work.

"There's a sense of scale," Kandt said. "You get a sense of maybe actually being there."

Kandt's work will be on view at the Agora Gallery from Friday through Nov. 15. An artists' reception will be held Nov. 1. For more information, and to see Kandt's paintings, visit www.agora-gallery.com .

Luttrell on leave -- Violinist Nancy Luttrell, associate concertmaster with the Wichita Symphony, is on leave from the orchestra this fall. She underwent surgery on her right shoulder in August and is recovering. She continues to teach at Wichita State University.

Asian Festival -- The Wichita Asian Association will feature three special programs during its annual Asian Festival on Saturday -- a Korean puppet show, a traditional Japanese dance by the Yosakoi Dance Club at Kansas State University, and a Maori spinning dance from New Zealand by Amira Dance Productions. Also on tap will be national dances by school groups in traditional costumes; martial arts demonstrations; 36 food, art and vendor booths representing 12 countries; and the Miss Asia pageant.

The Asian Festival will run from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday in Century II Convention Hall. Admission is free.

Ulrich curator -- The Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University will begin interviews for a new curator this week.

Three candidates will visit the museum over the next three weeks. Each will give a free art lecture open to the public as part of the process.

The candidates and their lecture dates are:

• Brian Young, curator at the Cranbrook Art Museum in Michigan, on Monday.

• Kate Green, curator of education and exhibitions at Artpace in San Antonio, on Oct. 29.

• Emily Stamey, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Kansas and a curator at the Spencer Museum there, on Nov. 5.

Each lecture will take place at 4:30 p.m. in room 210 of the McKnight Art Center at WSU.

Shift Space fund raiser -- WSU's Shift Space gallery in Old Town has come up with a fun way to raise money -- and to promote local artists.

On Friday, Shift Space will open "More Postage, Please," an exhibit featuring small (4 x 6 inch) paintings by WSU students, faculty and alumni as well as professional artists from around Kansas. Each painting will cost $20, or two paintings for $30. A list of participating artists is available, but the artist of each work (signed on the back) will not be revealed until a gala fund-raising party on Nov. 9.

Shift Space is at 803 E. Third Street, a half block north of CityArts by the Warren Theatre in Old Town. The gallery will be open 6 to 10 p.m. Friday for Final Friday. Regular gallery hours are 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Mentoring in Salina -- Three Wichita-area artists will participate in an artist exchange mentoring program at the Salina Art Center. Multi-media installation artist Ann Resnick will pair with printmaker Rachel Epp Buller of Newton, and ceramic sculptor Conrad Snider (Newton) will work with ceramic artist Peggy Medina of Salina. (A third team will pair Salina painters Cindy Zimmerman and Richae Morrow.)

Over the next 10 months the artists will exchange ideas, discuss techniques, share conversation and trade studio visits. The artist-teams will interact with artists in residence at the Salina Art Center, and will create new artwork for exhibit at the center in August, 2008.

WSU tour -- The Wichita State University Symphony Orchestra will perform at the 2008 International Festival of Youth Orchestras May 23-25 in Zaragoza, Spain

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