LINDSBORG, KAN. – The work of two former Bethel College art faculty members will be featured in the Sandzén Gallery, starting later this month.
Pastels by Bob Regier, North Newton, and sculpture by Paul Friesen, Hesston, will be on display Jan. 14-Feb. 23. An artist reception will be Jan. 19, 2-4 p.m.
Regier is professor emeritus of art at Bethel. Both he and Friesen began teaching art at the college in the early 1960s (Friesen was also half-time at Hesston College, where he had established the art department in the mid-’50s). Friesen retired in 1989 and Regier, who began at Bethel full-time in 1965, retired in 1992.
Though printmaking has been Regier’s preferred medium for almost five decades, for the past four years he has been exploring the use of soft pastels. His Sandzén Gallery exhibit – except for several collages – consists of pastel images.
When working with pastels, Regier is interested in searching for a satisfying point of interplay between the aesthetics of pure form, the nature of the medium and the visual sources rooted in his perception of the prairie environment, he says.
That search involves both invention and description. At other times, the composition may allude to shared visual reference points relating to the built or natural prairie landscape.
In other compositions, architectural elements interplay with landscape motifs. These motifs may shift between ground and elevated views that may suggest aerial or even mapping patterns.
Friesen began sculpting as a teenager, using a pocket knife that worked for the bark of the Chir pine trees on the slopes of the Himalayas, where Friesen’s parents were missionaries.
Friesen’s interest in sculpture continued in a limited way until he began teaching art at Hesston College in the mid-’50s. Wood continued as his primary medium when he became a full-time teacher in 1957.
Friesen established the art department for Hesston College where, in 2008, the new art building on the Hesston campus was named in honor of Paul and Wilma Friesen.
Friesen uses a variety of wood for his sculpture. Tools are a band saw, power chisels and rotary burrs, along with hand tools. He uses a finishing oil and a hard paste wax for the final dressing of the surface.
Also on display at the Sandzén Gallery Jan. 14-Feb. 23 are a special exhibit of selected paintings, prints and sculpture by Lindsborg Red Barn Studio and Museum artist Lester Raymer (1907-91), and a preview exhibit ahead of a spring art auction in Lindsborg March 1. The art, in many mediums, is by more than 75 locally recognized artists and/or artists who have exhibited at the Sandzén Gallery.
The Sandzén Gallery is at 401 North First Street in Lindsborg. Hours are 1-5 p.m., Tues.-Sun (closed Mondays). Admission is free, with donations welcomed. Docent tours for groups are available by two-week advance appointment. For more information about Birger Sandzén and the Sandzén Gallery, see www.sandzen.org or phone 785-227-2220.
(Sandzén Gallery release)