What: Solo Exhibition - Linda K. Robinson “Unleaded”

Where: Center Gallery, 111 Ellis, Wichita, Kansas

When: Opening reception: August 26, 7:00 - 10:00 p.m. And Final Friday reception: September 30, 7:00 - 10:00 p.m. Works on display through October 21.

How much: Admission is free. Art work for sale. For information, email or

This Friday at Center Gallery, WSU Professor of Photography Linda K. Robinson debuts her most recent body of work, “Unleaded.” In this exhibit, Robinson traces her family history into the oil and gas fields of Harper and Barber County, Kansas.

Her father was a Kansas oil and gas man and would bring Linda, as a child, to these fields. Now, decades later, she revisits the rural spaces of her father’s company in a photographic series that counterbalances her maternal series ”Domestic Work,” currently on view at Naked City Gallery.

Robinson’s photographs treat the warm rust-tones of oil pumps, distant prairie horizons, and the ordinary aspects of the oil business with fascination and reverence. Her tightly focused compositions accentuate the muted colors and deep textures of the industrial equipment within the landscape. These utilitarian, man-made objects reveal the discrete histories and contributions made to the oil and gas heritage of Kansas.

This human perspective washes away the politicized nature of big oil and corrupt mega-corporations, showing yet another way Kansas land is used to sustain life in America. It reminds the viewer of the humble, yet necessary, work of many men earning a living for their families by providing a source of energy to their country.

Robinson’s willingness to delve into her family history creates a relatable narrative that taps into an important aspect of Kansas heritage.

Opening reception for “Unleaded” at Center Gallery takes place on August 26, 2011 from 7pm -10pm.


Art of our time

Think contemporary for the Faculty Biennial show at WSU.


Eagle correspondent


What: Wichita State University School of Art and Design’s exhibit of faculty work

Where: Ulrich Museum of Art on the WSU campus

When: Opening reception 6-8 p.m. Saturday. Works on display through April 3. Regular gallery hours 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Fri. and 1-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun.

How much: Reception free for Ulrich members and WSU students; $7 for nonmembers. Call 316-978-3664 or e-mail for more information.

Contemporary art is the visual representation of this moment in time. It's our culture, our politics, our philosophy and our lifestyle.

Organizers of the Faculty Biennial show at the Wichita State University School of Art and Design say that’s one reason it’s appropriate to showcase the work of those who teach today’s burgeoning creative minds.

"People are very interested in the art of our time," said Patricia McDonnell, director of the Ulrich Museum of Art. "Contemporary art opens you up to examine the context of the world around you."

The works of 16 faculty artists will be unveiled Saturday for the opening of the exhibit. The evening is a chance for the public not only to see the latest in modern art, but also to interact with the teachers and students who help shape the discipline.

"Many people travel far to art fairs to gauge the pulse of contemporary art,” she said. “They can see what the temperature is by coming to the biennial."

The works on display reflect the diversity in medium and discipline across the department. They include ceramics, drawings, paintings, prints, graphic design, installations, fiber art, photography and sculpture.

Varied perspectives and vast statements can be found in the 55 works.

Ericka Walker, visiting assistant professor of printmaking, examines the history and meaning of propaganda in her lithographs. "Propaganda posters deliver a visual punch as a means of communication — to inform, reinforce, entice, or convince," she said. "I am especially interested in their visual treatment at the hands of printmakers and poster designers who have, in times of conflict, variously glorified and vilified the images and language of work, patriotism, pride and sacrifice, in an effort to circumscribe poster-length answers to excruciatingly complex issues."

Linda Robinson, assistant professor of photography, is interested in reanimating old photographs to bring attention to the theme of then and now. She displays several large, vintage snapshots of home life with focused, colored objects to reinterpret domesticity in her series “Thirty Five Years.”

"The snapshots of domestic spaces provide personal insight into the banality of the everyday, lived in the range of different places called home over the years," she said.

Dale Strattman, also a professor of photography, seeks to augment a more public realm in his works. After touring the Henry Bloch Building at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, he became interested in the architecture of the structure. "It was like walking through a three-dimensional, hard-edge, abstract painting," he said. He was given permission to photograph the building, and from more than 200 images, he has rearranged and juxtaposed them to create new correlations and connections. The work shows how space can be transformed and redefined, becoming a new representation of mass.

McDonnell says that one of her goals with the exhibit is to unmask the pretentiousness that some people think surrounds contemporary art. She hopes people will visit and see that modern art is for all.

The opening-night reception Saturday will feature a jazz quartet, refreshments and a chance to meet the artists







What: August Final Friday Exhibition

Where: Naked City Gallery, 121 N. Mead, Suite 104, Old Town, Wichita, Kansas

When: Opening reception, Friday, August 26, 7:00 - 10:00 p.m. Works on display from through September 16.

How much: Admission is free. Art work for sale. For information, email or go to and contact

The snapshot is a piece of art that everyday people have been creating and collecting for decades — a quickly taken intensely personal memory of a specific experience. What was once the realm of painters and later of professional photographers, the creation of images and making permanent of memories has become “everyman’s art.”  Taking from this new tradition and applying extensive research into the social and theoretical constructs behind the snapshot, Linda Robinson has developed multiple photographic series’ that may appear to be innocent and simple photographed scenes of daily American life, but in fact are heavily layered images building a compelling narrative and asking challenging questions.

“Throughout the narrative continuum of this series, the context of the snapshot genre is examined,” says Robinson. “Pointing to a commentary on the change of nostalgic notions once presented in the viewfinders of families of the 1960’s.”  Working from the starting point of the traditional family snapshot, Robinson shifts perspectives, creates color and texture in the darkroom, and re-contextualizes common objects and scenarios into a careful study of family, nostalgia, and the impact of the past.

In her series “Domestic Work” many of the images are tightly cornered in and give a strong sense of the identity of the inhabitant of these spaces, but completely leaves any actual portraiture. “Clothesline” is an image of garments strung on an out-the-window line running between two buildings. The perspective is from behind a nearly closed window at an angel that allows the viewing of only the first few feet of the line; the rest of the background is taken up by the roofline of the building across the street. The whole image, a strong cross-section of lines, is broken up only by the wheel of the clothesline. Compositionally the piece is very cross-linear and active, emoting a notion of work and purpose; there is work to be done. In hiding the view of the end of the clothesline not only does Robinson remove the connection with the outside world, she removes any possible completion — the task has no discernible end.

Throughout the series, very intimate and familiar-feeling spaces are empty and have a strong sense of loneliness or abandonment. These simple but strongly composed images carry a narrative and an exploration of what snapshots were originally intended for versus what they have actually catalogued, and what this catalogue of information reveals about the subjects involved.


Photography synergy

Linda Robinson is combining shows, workshops and lectures at Center Gallery


Eagle correspondent


What: Art gallery that is home to Midwest Center for Photography. A juried show is currently on display.

Where: Center Gallery, 111 Ellis

When: Works on display through Feb. 18. Gallery hours noon-6 p.m. each Friday, or by appointment. Call 316-269-1250.

How much: Admission free. Many works for sale.

For more information, email

Linda Robinson opened Center Gallery in 2008 hoping to elevate and explore contemporary photography not only in Wichita, but also in the Midwest and nationally.

It’s only natural that Robinson would want to use the space to help educate the public — as well as emerging artists — about all aspects of photography. She is an assistant professor of photography at Wichita State University.

“This is really an extension of my work in education,” she said. “I try to educate my students to go out into the real world, and I wanted to provide them a venue in their hometown. A lot of my students aspire to be fine art photographers, and this venue can allow them to take that step.”

Center Gallery is located in the Douglas Design District on Ellis Street. Sharp white walls, hardwood flooring and high ceilings are the backdrop to a space that has a distinct cosmopolitan vibe. Yet Robinson chose the name in homage to the gallery’s place in the middle of the country.

“I believe the Midwest is getting placed on the map as an emerging arts center,” she said.

To further her mission of education and enlightenment, Robinson last month founded the Midwest Center for Photography at the gallery.

It seeks to draw in the community by offering classes, workshops and artist talks. A juried exhibition is currently on display as part of its kickoff, with 32 artists from around the country submitting photos. Robinson chose 15 artists to display their works in the show, with subject matter ranging from portraits to landscapes to still life images.

“I appreciated that there were so many artists interested in the Midwestern landscape,” Robinson said. “We had entries from all around the country, and a strong sense of what it means to be a photographer in the Midwest really rang out. These are great snapshots of our region and an honest reflection of the people who live here.”

The gallery hosts a show each month, typically opening during the Final Friday art crawl.
Robinson hopes the Midwest Center for Photography will give a more structured approach to her offering of classes and lectures, which have proven very popular. They will be held on the Thursday evening before Final Friday.

“Every time we’ve hosted an artist lecture in the past, the chairs at the gallery have been full,” she said. “”I’ve seen community interest, so I wanted to expand on it more.”
This spring, workshops will also be offered on Saturdays on a variety of topics. Most classes will last two hours and cost $50. Class topics will architecture photography, which focuses on the use of structures and buildings as subjects, and street photography, which documents life as it happens around us.

Dates and details will be announced on the gallery’s website.

Robinson hopes to achieve a creative synergy through the classes, lectures, workshops and shows at the gallery.

“Wichita has had a lack of contemporary photography galleries,” she said. “I want to help harness the creative energy that exists within the Midwest region. “