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Wichita artist uses multiple processes, tied together by nature

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – In her work, Wichita-based artist Jennifer Larsen finds nature to be a common thread.

So it’s not too surprising that her exhibit of prints, photographs (including cyanotypes), drawings and sculpture, currently in Bethel College’s Regier Art Gallery, is titled “Vibrant Nature.”

Since 2010, Larsen has taught art at Northeast Magnet School in Wichita.

“A variety of formalist approaches take place in my work,” she says in her artist statement. “Compositional balance, movement, texture, pattern and layering are all part of my artistic process.

“I often focus on the principals and elements of design as a catalyst to my creative process. I approach my working surface as an exploration of material, and respond to the mark-making in order to create my

backgrounds and abstractions.

“This process allows me the freedom to feel in the moment, while printmaking and drawing allows me to be more meticulous and controlled. The combination of these working processes achieves the layering effect that I desire to convey in my work.”

She continues, “I have incorporated multiple mediums and approaches to subject matter in my compositions to express my ideas and connection to a particular aesthetic. I create abstract color-scapes with prints, layered drawings and nature-based imagery.

“In my work, I have merged a complex fabric of design-based abstract processes, as well as personal narratives to express my ideas. A common thread that ties many of these works together exists in the designs and textures inspired from nature.”

Larsen has a B.S. degree in computer technology from Southwestern College, Winfield, and a B.F.A. in drawing and painting from Wichita State University. She earned her M.F.A. in studio arts at the University of Buffalo (New York), took College Board Advanced Placement training at Olathe Northwest High School and is K-12 licensed (highly qualified status) through Fort Hays State University.

In addition to teaching at Northwest Magnet, Larsen is adjunct instructor of art at Allen County Community College, the Girl Scout Program coordinator at WSU’s Ulrich Museum of Art, and a teaching assistant at the All-Indian Center in Wichita.

Among many arts and awards, her most recent include the Kansas Art Education Association Professional Development Scholarship (2017), the Distinguished Classroom Teacher Award (2016–17) from USD 259, and a Ghost Ranch scholarship and a Kansas Association of American Educators grant, which allowed her to study and do art at the Ghost Ranch in Abiquiú, New Mexico, in 2016–17.

“The work that I completed on the Ghost Ranch represents the beginning of a transition point, as I experience an internal struggle and catharsis through my art,” Larsen says, “and a psychological renewal as I contemplated the vast and enormous spaces that exist in nature and the power that those forces evoke.”

“Being in those spaces prompted me to act out what I took in from those places, and process it as symbolic works of art. My time spent on the Ghost Ranch continues to inspire new ideas and has helped lead me towards what I need to complete in the next body of work.”

“Vibrant Nature” is on display through March 2. The artist reception is March 2, 5-7 p.m., outside the Regier Gallery, which is different from previously printed calendars and the gallery poster for 2017-18.

The Regier Art Gallery in Bethel College’s Luyken Fine Arts Center is open Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sundays from 2-4 p.m. Admission is free.

Also in the gallery for the 2017-18 season are paintings by Jan Klassen (another change from previously printed materials; March 9-30) and the annual Student Art Exhibit (April 6-27) and Senior Art Exhibit (May 4-20).

Bethel College ranks at No. 1 in College Consensus’ ranking of Kansas colleges and universities, and is the only Kansas private college listed in the Forbes.com analysis of top colleges and universities, for 2017-18. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu.

Bethel College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, age, gender, sexual orientation, parental or marital status, gender identity, gender expression, medical or genetic information, ethnic or national origins, citizenship status, veteran or military status or disability. E-mail questions to TitleIXCoordinator@bethelks.edu.

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