Eufloria: New Work by Michael Jilg and Leon Staab
June 24- August 13
June 14, 2016
Story by Joe Vinduska
Courtesy photos submitted
The Shafer Art Gallery will host an opening reception for its latest exhibit “Eufloria” featuring flower paintings from Michael Jilg and flower photos by Leon Staab from 6-8 p.m. Friday, June 24 in the Shafer Art Gallery. The exhibit runs through August 12.
Gallery Director Dave Barnes said the focus on flowers is purposeful and it is designed to remind us to figuratively stop and smell the roses.
“The renowned American artist Georgia O’Keefe once wrote about her flower paintings, ‘Nobody really sees flowers – they are so small and we haven’t time- and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.’” Barnes says, “The powerful floral portraits in the ‘Eufloria’ exhibit invite us to take the time to make new friends, meet a pistil or have a conversation with a petal. You will walk away from this enchanted exhibit feeling like you have never seen a flower before.”
Artist Michael Jilg started painting in the 60's and spent most of his adult life teaching art for 30 years at Fort Hays State University. He often acknowledges his affection for Kansas and its inextricable ties to his life. He was born in 1947 in Great Bend and received his bachelor’s degree and Master of Arts degree from Fort Hays State University and his Master of Fine Arts from Wichita State University.
He is now retired and continues working in his studio and traveling extensively. He blends his research and addiction to travel, seeking to unmask the mysteries of history and its layers of civilization. These elusive elements, so inherent in his art, exist in fragile balance against the excesses of the human animal and are worthy avenues of exploration for this ardent, artist traveler.
A past Governor’s Visual Artist, he has honored his profession with more than 200 exhibitions and representation in museum collections in the United States, England and Asia. With such global ties to the art world, he often travels to culturally rich metropolitan areas as a regular component of this work and research.
Despite the many cities that would welcome an artist of Michael’s reputation, Kansas remains his home.
“Cultural areas have tempted me, but I remain loyal to my western Kansas studio,” he said. “From this vantage point, east coast, west coast, and European influences can be equally observed.”
Leon was born in Hays in 1947. He earned a bachelor’s degree in German with teaching minors in Journalism and Russian from Fort Hays State University in 1971.
Leon opened a full service portrait studio in 1975 and for the next 39 years worked in his studio located in a historical building in Hays. Leon was active in The Kansas Professional Photographers Association. Pioneer Photography closed in 2014.
Leon continues to devote a portion of his time working on fine art photographic projects. His work has been accepted in many juried shows and has won top awards on many occasions. He has also exhibited in one-man shows in Kansas and the adjoining states. He has juried photography shows in Kansas and has presented programs on photography to both professional and amateur photography groups.
Staab’s exhibit will consist of photos of flowers.
“Flowers are much like people and each one is unique,” he said. “It is relaxing to spend time choosing flowers, inspecting them and deciding how to create an image that portrays their beauty. Seeing a garden filled with flowers or a field covered with blooms is a wonderful sight, but the real magic of Mother Nature is apparent when you look at a flower close up. Not only do you see the colors – sometimes saturated and vibrant and other times subtle and muted, but you begin to notice the structure. They are full of color, texture and depth. Revealing the shadings, patterns and other hidden details is why I enjoy making images of flowers. Working with flowers in the studio allows me to have full control of light in order to showcase the beauty of nature at its best.”