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Newton native to open the year at Fine Arts Center Gallery

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Newton native Gesine Janzen, Bozeman, Mont., will open the year in the Fine Arts Center Gallery at Bethel College with “Gesine Janzen: New Work in Prints,” Sept. 5-26.

Janzen, currently associate professor of art and head of printmaking at the School of Art at the University of Montana in Bozeman, is a 1989 graduate of Bethel College. All the exhibits by outside artists this year are by Bethel graduates and former students of Professor of Art Gail Lutsch, who will retire at the end of the 2009 academic year.

There will be an opening reception for the artist Friday, Sept. 5, from 5-7 p.m. in the area outside the Fine Arts Center Gallery.

Janzen earned a B.F.A. printmaking from the University of Kansas and an M.F.A. in printmaking with a minor in drawing from the University of Iowa. She is the daughter of John and Reinhild Janzen of rural Whitewater and Lawrence.

Janzen has exhibited widely, including the Third International Student Art Biennial (SIAB ’97), Museum of the City of Skopje, Republic of Macedonia, and an upcoming solo show at the Academy of Art and Design in Lodz, Poland. In 2007, she participated in the Global Matrix II International Print Exhibition, a traveling juried exhibition.

Other exhibit venues in recent years have included the Print Arts Northwest Invitational at Portland (Ore.) Community College; a two-person show at the Beverly Gallery in St. Louis; a solo exhibit at the Holter Museum of Art, Helena, Mont.; the Iowa City Public Library; solo shows at The Walton Art Center, Fayetteville, Ark., and the PEO Foundation Gallery at Cottey College in Nevada, Mo.; and the Rocky Mountain Biennial at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Fort Collins, Colo., where the juror was Jan Ernst Adlmann, assistant director of the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

More locally, Janzen’s work has been exhibited, among many other places, at the Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence; the Beach Museum of Art in Manhattan; the Morgan Gallery and the Dolphin Gallery, both in Kansas City, Mo.; the Kansas City Jewish Museum; the Mulvane Art Museum, Topeka; and Trish Higgins Fine Arts and the Project Gallery, both in Wichita. In 1999, Janzen had a solo show in Bethel’s Fine Arts Center Gallery and in 1998 at the Hesston College Art Gallery.

Her work can be found in corporate and public collections at, among others, the Wichita Art Museum; the Richard F. Brush Art Gallery at St. Lawrence University, Canton, N.Y.; the University of Colorado Special Collections, Boulder; Purdue University Galleries permanent collection, West Lafayette, Ind.; Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo; and, in Kansas City, Mo., Sprint, American Century Investments, DST Systems, Inc., Hallmark, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Belger Art Center.

Janzen is affiliated with Shack Up in Bozeman, the PAN Gallery in Portland, Ore., and Graficas in Tucson, Ariz.

“My work is about family, memory and placing myself in a timeline of generations,” she says. “The primary source for my imagery has been the home my family maintains in central Kansas. In the last few years, I have focused on the material surroundings of this place on the prairie – wooden houses, farm buildings, fences and hand-built structures.

“The images are drawn from memory and imagination. Like daydreaming, various elements in the work are layered and repeated, building an imaginary space as I remember the past while considering the present and future.”

More recently, she says, “My work has shifted from the representation of objects in a landscape to the landscape itself. Instead of being about forms and constructions that represent the people who built them, representation of the land implies the presence of the people who live and who have lived there. The style and surface quality of the woodcuts and etchings have been influenced by modern German prints I grew up with and look at for inspiration. In [many of] my most recent prints, the open space and gestural compositions represent the flow of time and passing generations.”

Regular hours for the Bethel College Fine Arts Center Gallery are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, 2-4 p.m. There is no admission charge. For more information or directions, call 316-284-5205 or go to the Bethel Web site at www.bethelks.edu.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and was the only Kansas private college to be ranked in Forbes.com’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2008. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at www.bethelks.edu.

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