New gallery on the scene

The work of four Wichita artists is featured in the first exhibition at Bob Schwan Studios, which opened three months ago a few blocks east of downtown.

Wichita businessman Bob Schwan, an artist who has painted for years, opened the bright, contemporary gallery to use as his own work space but also to take part in Wichita's art scene. Located in the 100 block of South Ellis, the gallery will participate in the monthly art crawl known as Final Friday.

Schwan also hired well-known Wichita artist Brian Hinkle to be the gallery's director. Hinkle brings years of experience in curating art shows as well as creating highly acclaimed art.

"Right now we are still in the development stages, but we are really excited to be showing outside works, and have so many ideas for future exhibitions," Hinkle said. "One thing Bob is really interested in is showing young artists who have not shown before, giving them the opportunity to gain some exposure for their work."

Schwan and his wife moved to Santa Fe, N.M., in 1990, where some of his work was represented in a local gallery. After leaving Santa Fe, settling back in Wichita and retiring, Schwan bought the building that houses the gallery.

"I treat my painting like a job and am here every day, painting," he said. "I mainly focus on painting, and Brian does a wonderful job curating the gallery exhibitions."

The gallery, which is open only by appointment except on Final Fridays, is currently showing the work of Wichita artists Elly Fitzig, Curt Clonts, Elizabeth Rowley and Hugo Zelada-Romero.

The four are at different stages in their artistic careers, but their work — colorful and leaning toward the abstract — blends harmoniously in the exhibit.

Fitzig's works show a vibrancy and passion for her art. She completes a painting a day, and her work is filled with energy and whimsy.

"I cast out a net each day to capture, in acrylics, some segment of my subconscious," she said. "The key is to step into the current wherever it leads and let the ripples flow."

Clont's mixed media pieces also have a touch of whimsy and show his dedication to the use of materials such as wood, paper collage and paint.

Many of Rowley's works are landscape abstracts achieved by building up colors and materials. The titles and poems she includes give clues about the pieces and allow the viewer to look at them in a different way.

Zelada-Romero is a new artist on the Wichita scene, Hinkle said.

"Hugo does amazing work with details and stenciling," he said. "His works really show the unique methods that he uses. His layering of colors, stencils and collage give his art so much depth, and it's great to see the effects that he achieves."

If you go>

bob schwan studios

What: New art gallery and studio

Where: 111 S. Ellis

When: An exhibition featuring the works of Elly Fitzig, Curt Clonts, Elizabeth Rowley and Hugo Zelada-Romero will be on view through July 30. A closing reception will be from 6-10 p.m. July 30 during the Final Friday art crawl. The gallery is open by appointment only.

How much: Admission free.

For more information, call 316-682-5600 or go to www.bobschwan.com.