Gathering Influence: The Artist as Collector

October 26 - December 18


Installation view
Installation view
Installation view, Lester Goldman
Jim Leedy, "Untitled Platter," 2002, Ceramic, alongside objects from the artist's collection
Hugh Merrill, objects from the artist's collection
Hugh Merrill, detail, objects from the artist's collection


The 2002 Biennial Faculty Exhibition for the Kansas City Art Institute,"Gathering Influence: The Artist as Collector." The exhibition featured work by 26 Kansas City Art Institute faculty members alongside work from their private collections, including art by students, mentors, and established artists, as well as unique collectibles and a range of influential and inspirational materials.
Participants included: Deborah di Blasi, Cary Esser, Tyler Galloway, Lester Goldman, Tom Gregg, Leeah Joo, Dr. Milton Katz, Jim Leedy, Richard Mattsson, Steve Mayse, Karen McCoy, Marcie Miller Gross, Hugh Merrill, Tim O’Neill, Jason Pollen, Jack Rees, James Reittinger, Jim Sajovic, Judith Sanazaro, Shirley Luke Schnell, Jane Shellenbarger, Gary Sutton, George Timock, Pauline Verbeek-Cowart, James Whitworth, and Michael Wickerson.

Also on view in the Roger Cohen Resource Room was the exhibition, "The Reading Room, One." This innovative and interactive exhibition, featured selected reading materials chosen by invited local art and design professionals. Participants included:  James Brinsfield, Maria Elena Buszek, Kate Hackman, Steve Maturo, Derek Porter, and Raechell Smith.
Find more information here:



Tom Gregg, Special Instructor, Painting

Let’s Roll, 2002
oil on panel
Faqir Aziz-Ood-Deen, untitled, water-based paint on paper
A large portion of my work as a painter (and my education as an artist) is deeply rooted in the Western pictorial tradition. Indian and Persian miniature paintings share some of these concerns but veer off in ways that seem endlessly surprising and effortlessly inventive. They are a constant source of mystery and joy and are among the few sorts of images that infuse me with a distinct sense of both distance and desire.
#2 Cary Esser, Associate Professor and Chair, Ceramics
Trumpet Vine Tiles, 2002
earthenware (top level)
Orchid, 2002
earthenware (bottom level)
Collection (middle level):
Abalone and sterling silver spoon heirloom; Mud dauber’s nest,  collected, glazed, and fired by Neolia Cole;  
Kiln Peep, KCAI ceramic student collaboration); Ilona Romule, Porcelain salt shaker set, 2000
The objects in my collection are related to my work in subject matter, media, and thought, They are source and substance. They provoke my memory and desire, gathering the impulse by which I shape, form, and frame material, and motif.
#3 Jane Shellenbarger, Assistant Professor, Ceramics
Five Ewes, 2002
soda and woodfired stoneware
Scale, calipers, awl
These are tools, objects I have chosen from my collection of things. They are intimate and finely made objects specialized in their function. The scale defines mass and an object’s relationship to space, the calipers measures form with precision, and the awl implies a line or a point. I am drawn to them for their unique forms as well as a nostalgic era they imply. In my own work I am interested in the linear qualities of form, as if the process is about drawing three dimensionally. The objects I choose to make often reference a nostalgic feeling for a previous culture through surface treatment as well as specialized form. My work tends to be small and intimate and tactile.
#4 Pauline Verbeek-Cowart
Assistant Professor, Fiber
Silk Forest, 2002
jacquard weaving
Paper Chain, 2002
jacquard weaving
Kuba Textile, Fly shuttle, Tape shuttle
My work has always been about order, systems, or forms of organization. The objects I am drawn to are tools used to create an organized arrangements of fiber, yarn, or surfaces and textiles that demonstrate a simplicity of technique and complexity in pattern.
#5 Judith Sanazaro, Special Instructor, Painting
Floor length, 2002
oil and metallic paint on linen
Designer, Giorgio Armani, circa 1990, polyester and silk skirt; silk and sequin ensemble; rayon, cotton, polyester, and silk jacket; acetate, acrylic, and silk blouse
The installation Floor Length juxtaposes the body with its absence, illusion with substance, light with matter, seriality and repetition with individuality, commerce with art and advertising, linen with rayon and silk.
#6 Jim Leedy, Professor, Sculpture
Untitled Platter, 2002
Mother Nature
mixed media
Nkisi ( Nail Fetish)
Ming Vessel from China
American Humidor (alledged to be made for Theodore Roosevelt)
My collection reflects things I try to embody in my own art. I love art that is spontaneous while filled with the history of its creation, whether from the human hand or from the evolution of natural forces.
#7 Michael Wickerson, Assistant Professor, Sculpture
Pile of Bowls, 2002
clay and bronze
Julie Beckert, Steel Bowls, 2001, steel
Marcus Brown, Boloro, 2001, wood and string
I have chosen to exhibit a collection of student works I have acquired over the past year. I find that our art production has been shaped by that facility while we share the same studio in the Volker Building at the Kansas City Art Institute.
 #8 James Reittinger, Special Assistant Professor, Design and Illustration
Portrait Self Mortality, 2001
collage, aluminum, plexiglass, artifacts
Zerohus, 2002
basswood and charcoal drawings 
Cameras of the past
Insect morphology
The selection of materials is to show a diversity and cohesion of ideas and work process. The work grows out of experience and self understanding. The collected objects are a byproduct of multiple experiences, but provide an important link to how I work and see/observe. How I see and what I see influence how and what I create.

#9 James Whitworth, Lecturer, Sculpture
Gifted, 2002
cast aluminum
German glass folk ornaments
Nightmare before Christmas toys
This sculpture is about the things associated with exchanging gifts and presents. I chose to integrate part of my wife’s collection of seasonal decorations with the sculpture as a way to blend the sense of anticipation, curiosity, and mystery with the joy of discovery and fond memories.
 #10 Tyler Galloway, Instructor, Design and Illustration
untitled, 2002
digital photo print
untitled, 2002
digital photo print
Various artists, printed ephemera, found type and image samples acquired over time
The original intent of my collection was to function as a library of unnoticed details from the graphic vernacular for use in personal work. I am amused with the surprising changes in meaning when specifically designed imagery and phrases are taken out of context.
#11 Tim O’Neill, Interim Director, Design and Illustration
Men and Women
digital photograph
oak mobile
Remodel debris
I seem to collect wood scraps. The board on display is a hand cut piece of trim that was pulled off of my house. I guess that it may have been cut 50 years ago. It is particularly interesting to me when I think how long one anonymous worker spent making the board match the lap siding perfectly – for no acclaim. It represents an ethic that is almost absent in our culture today. I think it is a visually interesting reminder of that period and ethic. The mobile pods are made from a special scrap of wood that I have had for about 4 years. I like the mobile because of it’s random, relaxing nature. Every gust presents a new visual construction.
#12 Lester Goldman, Professor, Painting
When are you going to tell the world about me?, 1997
oil on canvas
Mother/ Whore, 1996
wooden puppet, vinyl, enamel, hardware
Cock cover, Lamatul Tribe of Sepik River, New Guinea
Indonesian Shadow Puppet ( ongoing research which helped develop a Puppet Theater Workshop in 1999
Leland Bell (1922-1991), Family Group, acrylic on photographic reproduction
My collecting and interest in puppetry was generated by my fascination with construction, engineering, kinetics, character development, folk traditions, satire, politics, comedy and theater. The “Nose” comes out of a concern for racial stereotyping, the love of my father, Giacometti’s “Nase,” the comic-tragedy of Punch and Judy, Pinochio, and a love of fiction over truth.  (For more information regarding collection objects, please see exhibition notebook at reception desk.)
#13 Jason Pollen, Professor, Fiber
Equinox, 2002
silk, dye, and pigment
Dawning, 2002
silk, dye, and pigment
Patrick Renner, untitled sculpture, 2002
Student work is often alive with raw energy. The pieces in my collection continually inspire me, and remind me that the magic of creativity manifests early on and may, if we’re lucky, accompany us for a lifetime.
#14 Karen McCoy, Associate Professor and Chair, Sculpture
(See) Sea Blanket, 2002
eroded Mediterranean seaweed roots, Posidonie, and thread
Strange Simultaneity, 2002
video projection
Slate-top table and baskets of posidonie
Field guide and posidonie tangled with man-made materials
As an artist and collector, my process is to slowly separate out those things I need to form my work from the multi-layered context of the world. As a teacher, I hope to guide my students towards doing this for themselves.
#15 Shirley Luke Schnell, Professor, Foundation
Tree Fringed Ebbing Moon Blade, 1990’s
acrylic and polystyrene
The loch of learning, 1990’s
acrylic and polystyrene
Chinese porcelain headrest, 19th century
Chinese porcelain incense burner, 19th century
Regarding Chinese porcelain:
Special objects, whether given to me or chosen, have the potential of becoming objects of reference. Things may serve almost as personages, becoming icons of inspiration, association, and recollection.
#16 Gary Sutton, Dean of Faculty
Dover Drive In
manipulated photograph
Autographed photo of Adolf Galland and commemorative stamps of the Battle of Britain
History has been an interest of mine as long as I can remember. My work frequently refers to historical events. I have collected stamps since childhood. I began collecting autographs in the mid-nineties. The stamps in the exhibition are fifty year commemoratives of the Battle of Britain. The autographed photograph is of Adolf Galland, who was Kommodore of JG 26 (fighter wing) during the Battle of Britain.
#17 Jim Sajovic, Professor, Foundation
Chrysalis, 1996
acrylic on canvas
The Kiss, 1994
acrylic on canvas
Francis Bacon, untitled,  lithograph
Joel Peter Witkin, untitled, photograph
Eadweard Muybridge, untitled, collotype
The lover keeps a lock of the beloved’s hair or a dried flower held between the pages of a book. The artworks I collect are reminders of experiences and ideas of special importance to me; they challenge and inspire. In this way, it is my great pleasure to be able to possess the work of another artist.
#18 George Timock, Professor, Ceramics
Raku Vessel No. 306, 1997
raku-fired ceramic
Cast latex references
The variety of textured surfaces are cast in latex from rock outcroppings, lava flows, and other natural surfaces that are of visual interest. Although not specifically related to nature, the venue where these surfaces are gathered do generate emotional and spiritual memories.
#19 Hugh Merrill, Professor, Printmaking
Games for non-actors, 2002
mixed media
Platform Divination TarPit, 2002
digital print
Books, family photos, Lenin salt and pepper shakers, wine helicopter, French easel, and a cast belly by Jim Leedy
She asked him why he collected all this junk as she put down his ceramic salt and peppershaker fashioned after the bust of Lenin. He thought for a minute looking around his room. He saw that every surface was covered with books, ceramics, masks from around the world and dust. “I collect things to make myself small, to make myself disappear, to make the world outside myself the black-hole of importance.”
#20 Steve Mayse, Professor, Design and Illustration
Intervention, 2002
mixed media assemblage
Third Time’s the Charm, 1999
mixed media assemblage
Hammer from Australia
Oil can from Australia
King Dick (Boss) Spanner from Australia
#21 Marcie Miller Gross, Lecturer, Sculpture
Untitled, 2002
bath towels, wood
Harry Bertoia, Designer, Side chair with sputpad cushion, 1950
Furniture is the site of which we organize our domestic and work activities and guide personal interactions in our daily life. I live with, and site in this side chair, several times a day. I am intrigued by its structural use of a textile-like pliable plane, its integrity of form, and extreme and inventive design.
#22 Richard Mattsson, Professor, Foundation
Pink Pearl, 1992
oil on canvas
BearWallow Canyon Wash
oil on canvas
David Ratner, Metamorphosis, 1966
David Ratner, Untitled
Paul Granlund, Untitled bronze sculpture
The two paintings and sculpture from my collection were acquired through trades that I made 7 years ago. The paintings were made by David Ratner of Natick, Massachusetts. The sculpture was made by Paul Granlund of Schroeder, Minnesota. These two artists were highly respected and influential undergraduate teachers of mine from 1957 to 1961 while at the Minneapolis School of Art. They have become lifelong friends who I communicate with regularly. This is the first opportunity I have had to honor my relationship to them.
#23 Debra Di Blasi, Special Instructor, Liberal Arts
Ad Fictions: Think Again; Forget Botox; Face It; Life is Scary,  2002
computer generated photographs
-Newspapers: NY Times, Prague Post, San Francisco Chronicle, KC Star, Prague Post, Zycie Warszawy
-Soldier Photographers
Newspapers and photographs are merely other forms of storytelling. Their contects – whether events of monumental proportion, or a solitary soldier standing tall before he goes off to war – provide real and imaginary sources of tales that I will eventually write on paper, in cyberspace, or in other progressive works of fiction.
#24 Leeah Joo, Assistant Professor, Painting
Ivy, 2002
oil on wood
Korean Comic Books, The Music School by John Updike, Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor, and Will you always love me? by Joyce Carol Oates
For the past ten years, exploring various painting modes to embody personal narratives has been the driving force of my work. One of my fondest childhood memories was saving up a few coins to spend an afternoon in a man-sha gagae, a comic book store. Unlike the ones in the U.S., a Korean comic book store is closer to a library brimming with comic novels and comic epics offering a myriad of subjects, romance, science fiction, and history. As I grew older and my reading repertoire widened to include fiction writers, I began saving up moments of leisure to indulge in the fictional world. My paintings are in essence a marriage of the two endeavours: pictorial narratives.
#25 Milton Katz, Professor, Liberal Arts
Milton Katz, Ban the Bomb, 1985
Milton Katz with Self-Portrait with Jewish Identity Card  by Felix Nussbaum
Tamara Katz, Holocaust Project #1
Tamara Katz, Holocaust Project #2
As a young graduate student during the period of America’s War in Vietnam, I made a commitment to combine scholarship with my social and political values. Linking my pacifist beliefs with peace research culminated with the publication of my first book, Ban the Bomb: A History of the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy. Understanding that the Holocaust has marked our time perhaps more than any singular event, I have devoted the past ten years to study a neglected field of Holocaust scholarship, the art of resistance created by the victims of the Shoah. I continue to be an idealist in the belief that our actions can make a positive difference in an increasingly cynical, chaotic and violent universe. As educators and citizens, I believe we have an obligation to inspire our students and ourselves to work for a more generous, just, and inclusive society.
#26 J.M. Rees, Lecturer, Liberal Arts
7 Octaves of Geometry, 1999 (Interface Design)
Abecedarium, 2000 (Interface Design)
computer meditated photolithography
Jacques Dunham, untitled pen and ink drawing, circa 1946
Jacques Dunham, untitled pen and ink drawing, circa 1946
I take the matter of influence very seriously; so seriously that I am a keeper of geneaogy, pedagogical genealogy. In the seventies I was a student of the painter Richard Lukocius, who was a student of Josef Albers. In other words I am a student, once removed, of Albers. In the eighties I was an architecture student at Cooper Union where I was a student of a student of a student of Le Corbusier. In the nineties I was a student of the last PhD candidate directed by Rudolf Arnheim. Now at the beginning of the twenty-first century my students may say they are students of the poet Frederick Turner, the physicist Wolfgang Rindler, the typographer Herbert Lubalan and, most importantly (in my personal and professional development) the designer Jack Rees, my father. As a teacher, I am at my best when these teachers speak, as it were, through my mouth.




Press Release

The H&R Block Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute presents two new exhibitions: Gathering Influence: The Artist as Collector and The Reading Room, One
KCAI Website |
Mon, 2002-10-21
Gathering Influence: The Artist as Collector, features work by 26 Kansas City Art Institute faculty members alongside work from their private collections, including art by students, mentors, and established artists, as well as unique collectibles and a range of influential and inspirational materials. 

Selected Press

Out of Gas by Alice Thorson
The Kansas City Star |
Fri, 2002-12-06

Exhibit deosn't show faculty members' work at its best