The Bethany College Department of Art and Mingenback Art Gallery presents “Seeking,” an exhibition of artists engaged in inquiries that challenge their community to look deeper into the subject the artist’s work engages. Selected works by artists Norman Akers, Darien A-Johnson, Roberta Massuch, Nick Sousanis, Kwok Pong “Bobby” Tso, and Larry Thomas will be installed in the gallery from Friday, February 9 through March 2, 2018. There will be a reception for the community, with a gallery talk, on Friday, March 2, from 4:00 pm – 6:00 p.m.

Contemporary art practice investigates the complexity of cultural experiences and embeds ideas in material in new ways. This exhibition celebrates artists engaged in individual explorations that challenge us to think outside our common experience and assumptions about culture and art. While in the past, artists might promote controversy to shake the foundations of culture, these artists work passionately with their communities to find new ideas that can be found in a process, narrative, or material.

As a Native American artist, Norman Akers explores issues of identity in culture, including Osage mythos, place, and the dynamics of personal and cultural transformation. Over the years he has used a visual vocabulary consisting of images and symbols drawn from his cultural heritage, personal life experiences, and contemporary culture. The underlying principles that inform his art include tribal oral histories, maps, art historical references, and nature. Through visual narrative, he explores how a point of view relates to a historical, political and cultural sense of place in contemporary society. The use of narrative in his work acts as a continuation of the Native American storytelling tradition. Internationally recognized, Professor Akers is an Associate Professor of Art and Director of Art Graduate Studies at the University of Kansas.

Known for incorporating the “glitch” aesthetic into the ceramic vernacular, Darien A-Johnson’s work addresses thoughts of memory, technological integration, mark making, and perceptual consciousness. He has continued the exploration of these ideas and processes through multiple relocations, including time spent as a visiting artist at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, and an Assistant Professor at Buffalo State College. He most recently transitioned from being a full-time studio artist in Copenhagen, Denmark to join Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA as an Assistant Professor. In 2012 he was awarded the Emerging Artist Award through NCECA, and most recently received an exhibition grant from the Danish Cultural Ministry to complete a residency and exhibition opportunity through C.R.E.T.A. Rome. He is represented by Alan Avery Art Company.

Ceramic artist, Roberta Massuch investigates the way shifting light in a room affects how one perceives objects in the home. Her work brings permanence to fleeting moments, while sharing with the viewer the experience of witnessing an entrancing phenomenon: light constantly affecting and changing familiar spaces and objects in the home. Massuch is a Resident Artist at The Clay Studio, and works as the studio technician at The Community College of Philadelphia. Originally from Minneapolis, MN, she received her BFA from Northern Illinois University in 2005 and her MFA from Louisiana State University in May 2013. She was awarded a 2015 Independence Foundation Visual Arts Fellowship, which funded her participation in an 8 week Arquetopia Special Ceramics Artist Residency (2016) at the Arquetopia Foundation for Development, in Puebla, Mexico.

Nick Sousanis received his doctorate in education at Teachers College, Columbia University in 2014, where he wrote and drew his dissertation entirely in comic book form. Titled “Unflattening,” it argues for the importance of visual thinking in teaching and learning, and was published by Harvard University Press in 2015. “Unflattening” received the 2016 American Publishers Awards for Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE Award) in Humanities, the Lynd Ward Prize for best Graphic Novel of 2015, and was nominated for an Eisner Award for Best Scholarly/Academic work. He developed and taught courses on comics as powerful communication tools at Teachers College and Parsons in NYC, and Comics as a Way of Thinking at the University of Calgary in fall of 2015. Since fall 2016, he has been an assistant professor at San Francisco State University, where he will be launching a comics studies program.

Kwok Pong “Bobby” Tso‘s work investigates the spatial relationship between the evolution and production of objects and human interaction. For his work included in this exhibit, “Voice-over” stands for a voice that is not part of the narrative, a voice spoken by someone who appears elsewhere when an event happens. We know what we hear may not be a fact, what we see may not be the truth. Pong was born and raised in Hong Kong, and decided to come to the USA to continue his education while exploring cultural differences. He was named as Ceramics Monthly Emerging Artist in 2014 and NCECA Emerging Artist in 2016. He has exhibited nationally and internationally, including in China, Republic of Korea, Romania, Germany and United Kingdom.

At first glance painter Larry Thomas’ work appears primarily abstract. Closer inspection reveals glimpses, fragments, or passages of potentially more recognizable shapes. Using traditional mediums such as paint, printmaking and collage with the contemporary medium of digitally generated images, Larry researches perception, deception, secrets, code and camouflage, both visually and conceptually. He earned MA and MFA degrees in printmaking and drawing from the University of Iowa. He has exhibited in over eighty regional, national, and international exhibitions and has work in more than seventy corporate, public, and private collections including the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art. He recently retired as a Professor in the Fine Arts Department at Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, KS. He is represented by the Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art Gallery in Kansas City, MO.

This event is free and open to the public. Mingenback Art Center Gallery, located at the corner of Olsson and Second streets in Lindsborg, is open daily Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For further information please contact the Art Department at 785-227-3380, ext. 8147 or by email: