Three generations of one Wichita family will share their artistry in a new exhibit opening tonight at CityArts, while trying to nurture artistic pursuits in war-torn Afghanistan by launching a drive to send art books there.
"Re: Generations 3" is an exhibition of the works of Michael Pointer, his father, Ed Pointer, and his niece, Sarah Roberts. It's the first time all three have shown together, and also marks Roberts' art show debut.
It's clear that art runs in the family. Ed Pointer worked in advertising and has painted professionally for 50 years, but it wasn't until he retired in 1992 that he could devote himself full time to his art.
"I started out as a realist painter and am now revisiting my early contemporary roots," he said. His abstract paintings of the Kansas landscape show a shift from realism to minimalism, with an almost architectural quality, but they are still unmistakably the plains of Kansas.
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Michael has been traveling and working as a professional photographer for years.
"I grew up making art with Dad and it just came naturally," he said.
His photographic style is expressionistic and abstract, somewhat like his father's paintings. "I call my style photo-expressionism," he said. "It is very gestural and sometimes involves throwing chemicals on the images to achieve certain effects."
Growing up with her grandfather and uncle as influences, Sarah Roberts says, "I never even had a chance. It was inevitable that I was to be an artist."
Her work consists mostly of digital photography.
"My photos are about beauty that is withered, but still beautiful," she said. "It comes from the idea that true beauty is found within the soul of a person rather than on the outside. It is an unveiling of the true beauty of nature."
A series of circumstances landed Michael Pointer in the middle of one of the most volatile countries on the globe, Afghanistan.
"A year ago, the economy fell and I wasn't selling the amount of art that I had been ... so I decided to go back to my previous profession as a dental technician," he said. "I was given the opportunity to go to Afghanistan, where they were in dire need of dental clinics."
Pointer became responsible for opening a dental laboratory and for teaching dental technology and hygiene with Afghanistan Dental Relief Project. The project eventually lost funding, but while in the country, Pointer became affiliated with the Center of Contemporary Arts Afghanistan.
Given his artistic background, he was asked to lecture at CCAA and has been invited to teach photography there next fall.
"One thing they need desperately is a contemporary art library," he said. "It would mean so much to the students over there who are learning about art, and it is a way for different tribes to find a common ground."
The book drive will continue for the next month and Pointer will take donated books with him when he returns to Afghanistan, he said.
If you go
'Re: Generations 3'
What: Works by Ed Pointer, Michael Pointer and Sarah Roberts
Where: CityArts, 334 N. Mead in Old Town
When: Opening reception 6-10 p.m. today. Gallery hours are 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Fri. and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat.
How much: Admission free.
Note: Donations of art books will be accepted at CityArts through the end of June to benefit a new library in Kabul, Afghanistan.