Two exhibitions open tonight at Wichita Center for the Arts that offer different interpretations of the painting medium.
The main gallery is awash in color with the 40th annual Kansas Watercolor Society exhibition, while the east gallery holds a pristine display of paintings by Wichita artist Brian Hinkle.
A reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. today.
The Kansas Watercolor Society exhibition has long been a favorite with Wichita audiences. In previous years, the exhibition was known as the Great 8 Watercolor Show, in which eight states, including Kansas, took part.
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This year, however, the exhibition has gone national to include all of North America. It features 84 watercolor paintings from around the country, with 24 Kansas artists among those contributing.
"What we see every year, and especially this year, is a broad interpretation of watercolor media," said Jana Erwin Durfee, gallery director at the center. "The artists handle the medium in such diverse ways as far as their approach and content. ... What you find with this exhibit is the endless capacity that watercolor holds as a means of artistic expression."
Eric Weigardt, of Seattle, was selected as this year's juror for the watercolor show. He's an award-winning watercolorist and member of the National and American Watercolor Societies.
His choice for best in show is a painting by Soon Warren titled "D.C. Fall." It depicts a large tree exploding with golden fall colors in the middle of an urban setting.
"What struck the juror with this piece was the unusual placement of the tree and the way in which the artist handled the medium," Durfee said.
Second place went to Dean Mitchell, of Tampa, Fla., and third place was awarded to Hugh Greer, of Wichita, for a landscape titled "Upper Fox Creek."
The exhibition of Hinkle's work, titled "Transition," includes 23 new oil paintings by the Wichita artist. Hinkle, who teaches painting and enameling at the center, has been known for working in the Cubist style but he began exploring realism after a year-long stay in western Kansas.
The new paintings illustrate that dramatic shift from colorfully abstract representations to detailed, realistic renderings of the Kansas landscape. His exhibition will run through Dec. 13.
If you go
Wichita Center for the Arts
What: Two new exhibits: The Kansas Watercolor Society National Exhibition 2009 and "Transitions: New Paintings by Brian Hinkle."
Where: Wichita Center for the Arts, 9112 E. Central
When: Opening reception 5-7 p.m. today. An awards ceremony for the watercolor exhibit will be at 6 p.m. The watercolor exhibit will be on view through Jan. 3. Tours will be given at 1:30 p.m. Sunday and 1:30 p.m. Dec. 13. Hinkle's works will be on display through Dec. 13.
How much: Admission is free.
For more information, call 316-634-2787.