Lindy Wiese and Sean Christopher Ward have been friends and fellow creators for over 20 years. Their passion for art is as strong as the bond between them, which extends back to when they were young children. After working alongside each other in an artist collective, the two decided to open their own studio on Commerce Street.
The Hue Gallery, which launched in September, gives them a chance to showcase artists from across the city and country, while filling a void they see in the local arts scene. It’s also giving them an opportunity to exhibit works of their own.
“Me and Lindy used to be at Artist Central last year, and we really wanted to see the arts boosted in Wichita,” said Ward, 28. “We were always talking about how we really wished there was more contemporary styled art works in Wichita. That’s what led us towards opening the gallery. We wanted some new concepts for Wichita.”
Ward said that both have exhibited their own art at galleries around town for several years, and they’ve made connections with local artists in the process. He sees the gallery as a way to give back to the city in a positive manner and offer a platform for people to be exposed to types of art they might not otherwise see. He also said the location is exciting because it’s at the intersection of where a lot of unique and experimental art is happening.
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“Both of us have shown on Commerce Street numerous times,” Ward said. “We’ve always been very much a fan of the street. It’s a little nook, but there are so many galleries bunched together. It makes it easier for patrons to come. It’s kind of like how art is experienced in larger cities.”
Around 12 artists exhibit at the gallery each month, with one or two rotating out at the end. Though so far it’s just been a visual gallery space, Ward and Wiese have artists planned for this year who they hope will be teaching classes or offering workshops. Their goal is to showcase many local and Kansas artists but also to offer Wichitans a taste of art from other parts of the country.
“We’re trying to create a space where anyone can walk in and see some style of art that they like,” he said. “We do have one or two traditional artists, we have photographers, we have ceramic artists, abstract expressionists from the west coast, and some from the south and east side of the U.S. We want to offer a wide spectrum so hopefully people can get information from it.”
In addition to the rotating roster of artists, Hue Gallery will also feature a monthly Final Friday exhibit. Currently, it’s a split show about colors and their usage called “Full Spectrum” that spotlights Ward’s and Wiese’s works. Wiese’s paintings are made with a pallet knife and bring in a wide scale of colors that stretch throughout the canvass to fashion impressionistic images of still lifes and landscapes. She offers a lot of Santa Fe-style landscapes, such as a mountain plateau, and several serene garden scenes as part of her collection.
“I do a type of subtractive method of painting. It’s all about using designs to create an optical illusion into the artworks themselves,” Ward said of his part in the exhibit. “The other portion of this exhibit from me is actual portraits that mediate line space and are full spectrum color over the portions that are color rather than the wet space behind. The subjects are dead celebrities, and it’s about the images that are there, but how they are fading over time. It’s about remembering the celebrities of our past and not letting them fade away.”
The iconic figures he’s painted include Marilyn Monroe, Bettie Paige and John Lennon. More works from that series are planned for later this year.
Ward said that overall the gallery is trying to go toward an abstract expressionism route and focus more on conceptualism. He thinks Wichita is eager for this type of art and is excited for the year ahead.
“I love Wichita. It’s taught me a lot,” he said. “It seems like all of the artists really band together very well here. In a lot of the larger cities, everyone is fighting for the spotlight, but in Wichita everyone seems to be working together. It exudes the Midwestern values.”
If you go
What: An exhibit of works by Sean Christopher Ward and Lindy Wiese, owners of a new art gallery on Commerce Street
Where: Hue Gallery, 430 S. Commerce St. Ste. 200
When: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Fri.-Sat.; Sun.-Thur. by appointment. Final Friday hours are 6-10 p.m.
How Much: Free to view, works for sale
Information: 316-512-5045, www.huewichita.com