LINDSBORG— New exhibitions opening at the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery, 401 North First Street in Lindsborg, include a two-person exhibition of paintings, drawings, fossils, and other works by Ray Troll of Ketchikan, Alaska, and Chuck Bonner of Scott City; artwork by Curt Clonts of Wichita; and the Gallery’s annual Holiday Gift Show.
All of the new exhibitions will open to the public on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, with an opening reception that afternoon from 2 to 4 p.m., with gallery talks beginning at 2:30 p.m. The Clonts and Holiday Gift Show will be on display through Jan. 6, 2019, and the Troll/Bonner through March 17, 2019.
Ray Troll and Chuck Bonner met in 1992 when Troll was doing illustration research for the book Planet Ocean by Brad Matsen. An exhibition featuring Troll’s illustrations from the book toured throughout the country with Bonner providing Kansas fossils for the show. Both have kept in contact over the years and this Sandzen Gallery joint exhibition, Prairie Ocean: Long Time No Sea, revisits Kansas and its paleontological past.
In his studio on a hill above Tongass Narrows in rainy Ketchikan, Alaska, Ray Troll creates fishy images that swim into museums, books, magazines, and onto t-shirts worn around the world. He draws his inspiration from extensive field work and the latest scientific discoveries, bringing a street-smart sensibility to the worlds of ichthyology and paleontology.
Troll spent much of his childhood in Wichita and earned a BA degree from Bethany College in 1977 and an MFA in studio arts from Washington State University in 1981. In 2008 he was awarded an honorary doctorate in fine arts from the University of Alaska Southeast.
Chuck Bonner was born in Scott City, and grew up further west in Leoti. His formative years were spent in an artistic and scientific environment – his father was a fossil collector and his mother an artist. Chuck attended Fort Hays State University where he received an AB in art and an MA in painting. While there, Bonner worked at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History where he prepared exhibits, painted scientific restorations and portraits, and prepared fossils for exhibit. This experience has helped him with his latest venture, Keystone Gallery, which he opened with his wife in 1991. Bonner enjoys the challenge of commission work whether for public organizations such as museums or for individuals. He continues to produce various styles of artwork and sells works to collectors throughout the world.
Curt Clonts was raised in Wichita. He took his first lessons in art from Lindsborg artist Maleta Forsberg at age 7 and credits her for giving him an excitement for art that has never subsided. Clonts also received valuable tutelage from artists Annie Lowrey and nationally-known James Gross who were both teachers in the Wichita Public School System in the 1970s. He left in 1977 for Los Angeles, then moved to Okinawa, Japan, where he met and married his wife, Taeko. After leaving Japan, the family moved to New Orleans, Dallas, and El Paso before returning to Wichita in 1991.
Once back home, Clonts became a member of Wichita’s Famous Dead Artists, a Wichita art co-op. He founded Art Soup, The Tractor Factory, and also regularly contributed articles on art and music for Wichita alternative newspapers SEEN and F5.
In 2006, he became the Artist-In-Residence at Friends University in Wichita and held the position until 2013. He also founded The Ginger Rabbits arts co-op during this time, and currently has works included in the collections at the Wichita Art Museum, Emprise Bank, Mark Arts, and many private collections.
The Gallery’s popular Holiday Gift Show completes the selection of new exhibitions. The work of nearly 50 invited artists are represented in the show, along with ceramic pieces from the artists of Clayworks at Disability Supports in McPherson. Art includes paintings, prints, ceramics, jewelry, sculpture, Swedish-inspired folk art, woodcarvings, and mixed media pieces.
The Sandzén Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The Gallery is closed on Mondays. Admission is free, with donations appreciated. Docent tours for groups are available by two-week advance appointment. For more information about Birger Sandzén and the Sandzén Gallery visit the website www.sandzen.org or call (785) 227-2220.