2014—Kansas Burns: Artists Inspired by Controlled Prairie Fires

IMAGE: Larry Schwarm, Burning Grass, Lyon County, Kansas, detail (1994), color photograph. TSCPL Permanent Collection, 2004.49.

IMAGE: Larry Schwarm, Burning Grass, Lyon County, Kansas, detail (1994), color photograph. TSCPL Permanent Collection, 2004.49.

February 7 — March 30, 2014
See below for exhibit photos

Fire. Flame. Smoke. Energy in its most raw form.

“When the wind picks back up, the fire makes the sound of crumpling metal, of innumerable breaking sticks—of a head fire racing through tinder-dry grass.” —Elizabeth Dodd

2014 is the Year of Art and Science at the Alice C. Sabatini Gallery. We’re kicking things off with art inspired by Kansas’ annual, controlled prairie burns, and the science behind this exercise in rejuvenating our grasslands.

Every spring, ranchers and prairie managers arrange to burn parts of the Flint Hills to control weeds, trees, invasive species, and to keep the grasslands healthy.

FEATURING: Louis Copt, James Pringle Cook, James Nedresky, Jim Richardson, Judith Sabatini, Larry Schwarm, Gene Sievers, and Jennifer Somers

Artists also attend the burns and create amazing representations of it. They work in photography, painting, glass, and ceramics to express their responses to this fierce and beautiful element. The art is as dramatic and beautiful as the burns themselves. From the artists’ views, we get to feel what it’s like to be at a burn.

RELATED EVENTS

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(L) Gene Sievers, Smoke in the Flint Hills (1982), earthenware; Topeka Competition 6 Friends of the Library Purchase Award, 1982.11 / (R) James Pringle Cook, The Section—Spring Burn; Acrylic on canvas

First Friday ArtWalk & Opening Reception
Friday | Feb 7 | 5:30–8:30 pm | Sabatini Gallery
Bring a friend and start your First Fridays at the Library. Meet the artists, eat delicious snacks, and party with us as we kick off Kansas Burns. Free, casual, and open to the public.

First Friday ArtWalk
Friday | Mar 7 | 5:30–8:30 pm | Sabatini Gallery
Bring a friend and start your First Fridays at the Library. If you haven’t seen Kansas Burns, now’s your chance. Free, casual, and open to the public.

Larry Schwarm: Artist’s Talk
Saturday | Feb 8 | 2:00–3:30 pm | Marvin Auditorium 101C
The artist and photographer talks about his prairie fire photographs from Kansas Burns, and his other projects, including documentation of the town of Greensburg, Kansas, after being devastated by a tornado. He is one of the few contemporary American photographers allowed to photograph in the country of Cuba.

QUOTE: Elizabeth Dodd from “Red Buffalo, Black Butterflies” first appeared in Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built & Natural Environments, No. 28 (Fall/Winter 2012). Poems and essays copyright 2012.


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