SouthWind Art Gallery may be known for our Kansas landscape paintings, but we also have some wonderful dimensional works on display as well. Here is the list of artists we’re showing, followed by their work and biographies: Kwan Wu, Mark La Mair, Tyler Quintin, Ellen A. Cook, and Naomi Cashman.
Kwan Wu: We show several bronzes by Kwan Wu, an internationally recognized sculptor who began his sculpture education at the leading school of sculpture in China in 1973. He was one of only eight students admitted at that time. After graduation, Mr. Wu was one of only two students chosen for the master’s program by Chinese National Sculptor Pan Ho. As a graduate student, he did an exchange in New York to learn about Western art, but circumstances in China eventually forced him to rebuild his life as an artist in America. He settled in the midwest and began completing projects like the “The Bill of Rights,” a 14-foot bronze monument at the Federal Courthouse in Kansas City, twelve life-sized bronze baseball players for the National Negro League Baseball Museum; the nine-foot statue of Phog Allen at the University of Kansas; a life-sized sculpture of George Brett at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City; and the Children of the Trails memorial in the Johnson County Courthouse Square in Olathe, Kansas. A bronze model of his work, Lewis the Naturalist, in honor of the botanical work of the Lewis and Clark expedition, has been on display in the White House and is permanently on display in the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. The beauty and exquisite quality of his work is highly recognized and sought after throughout the U.S.
Mark La Mair: Abstract sculptor Mark La Mair was born in Southern Missouri, but he received his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1984 before moving back to live in the Ozarks. His path to becoming an artist was about as straight as his Zig Ball sculpture; he studied architecture and engineering briefly at Iowa State, but he decided that neither were his true calling. La Mair decided he wanted to be an artist and traveled to Rhode Island to study art. After graduating, Mark met his wife Jane, a painter, and they settled in Philadelphia and continued their work. Mark La Mair’s work has now been shown throughout the country, and is found in many private and corporate collections. His large piece “Leap in to,” at the Oakland Aquatic Center has been listed as one of the top 22 public art pieces. SouthWind Art Gallery is proud to show La Mair’s “Zig Ball,” which was created while he was getting his Masters of Arts at the University of Kansas. The sculpture is 9 feet, 6 in. tall, and is done in the simple and energetic style La Mair is most known for, including the beautiful brushed metal surface texture.
Tyler Quintin: One of two emerging artists in the gallery, Tyler Quintin received his BFA in Studio Arts from Washburn University in 2016. He was a recipient of the Barbara L. Buzick scholarship, a four year full tuition scholarship. Since undergrad, Tyler has worked as the Assistant Gallery Director at SouthWind Art Gallery (Topeka, KS) and as a NOTO Arts Place Artist in Residence. Previously, Tyler has been employed at the Mulvane Art Museum, and assisted with the installation of the new Rita Blitt Gallery. Tyler’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and is represented in the permanent collection of the Mulvane Art Museum of Topeka and the San Angelo Museum of San Angelo,Texas. Just recently, Tyler was an artist in resident at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana. The foundation is one of the oldest residencies for ceramic arts in the US. Current ceramic works in the gallery are “Product of Environment,” a seated tiger made out of porcelain. The fragile, bridge-like structures of this work flow right out of the decorative stripes, which were added using china paint for a watercolor texture and a permanent finish.
Ellen A. Cook: Ellen comes from a family of talented artists, and is our other featured emerging artist at SouthWind. We also show work by her father, impasto painter James Pringle Cook, but Ellen’s aptitude for ceramic sculpture is all her own. Ellen A. Cook graduated from the University of Arizona in 2017 with a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts. Since graduation, she has exhibited work in a number of galleries in Arizona and Kansas. Her bronze and ceramic sculptures are already being collected, with several of them in private collections in the Southwest. Ellen has also completed murals in Tuscon, and her work is published in several books and magazines including the Miracle Maxx by JP Ranch, and A Family of Artists. She has two figures on display in the gallery, done in beautiful black and ivory stoneware. The two pieces “Untitled, (Seated Figure in White)”, and “Untitled (Seated Figure in Black),” are like miniature classical Greek sculptures. The detail of the faces (including the minute folds of the eyelids) and the tiny hands and feet are incredibly rendered, and the skin and underlying muscles are carefully modeled.
Naomi Cashman: Naomi attended the University of Kansas and is also native of Northeast Kansas. She began her journey as an artist painting in the mid 1960’s when she was living in Germany. However, she put her art aside to raise a family but later took up painting once again, only to discover the art of wood sculpture. Her new interest drew her outdoors to observe and photograph the many bird species she wanted to carve, and for the next 20 years, she sculpted waterfowl. Painstakingly carved pieces were painted with oil pigments for an incredibly life-like appearance. During this period, she competed in national shows, winning numerous awards for her sculptures. In 1996, Naomi’s work was chosen for an exhibit at the University of Kansas Dyke Museum of Natural History. On display at the gallery are a pair of Green-winged Teals, male and female, titled “Resting Place.” The two birds are unbelievably lifelike, with feathers so soft they hardly look like wood. Painted with oils, the colors are natural and vibrant. Although arthritis and a new interest in watercolor has halted her carvings, you can still feel the incredible patience and dedication to each of these lifelike sculptures. “Resting Place,” and its exquisite detail is a wonderful example of Naomi Cashman’s sculptural legacy.