By Mina Truong, features editor
The fourth Steckline Gallery exhibit of the semester will feature “From the Ground Up” by artist Ron Michael. The exhibit contains ceramics, sculpture and drawings.
The exhibit will begin with a Final Friday reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday in the DeMattias Fine Arts Center. The exhibit will be on display through Dec. 19. Admission to the gallery are free and open to the public.
Michael’s exhibit, “From the Ground Up,” showcases drawings and ceramics that focus on the simple beauty of nature. The title of the exhibit implies that his medium comes from the earth. Michael incorporates clay, stone, and wood into his works.
“I make ceramic vessels, sculptures and drawings that are inspired by the landscape, soil and geology of Kansas,” Michael said.
Michael has family roots in Jewell County and has lived in Kansas, which allowed him to “witness the unique diversity of this region.”
He said he employs organic shapes and forms to create a peaceful aura in his artwork.
“I try to create fairly simple forms that are derivatives of things you might see in nature,” Michael said. “I always try to employ a strong sense of design. It’s very important to use basic elements to create the art instead of highly manufactured material.”
He said he also draws inspiration from the elements of nature from Japanese art.
In his vessels and sculptures, Michael uses clay from Montrose and combines ceramic pieces with limestone and/or wood forms that he has sculpted. Michael also has drawings with the theme of nature. The drawings allow him to illustrate landscape and regional influences, he said.
The allure of nature for Michael comes from his love for the outdoors.
“The essence of our spirit is in the natural world,” Michael said. “I try to make a connection with the natural world and art helps me to do that.”
Michael said he hopes that his spectators will “come away with a deeper appreciation for the earth and a feeling of peace.”
“I try not to make work that confronts the viewer,” Michael said. “It doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Works that last throughout time, and hopefully will be important a hundred years from now.”
Michael is a curator for the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery in Lindsborg and an art teacher at Bethany College, also in Lindsborg. He received a master’s degree in library science and information management in 1995 from Emporia State University, and a master of fine arts degree in design in 2000 from the University of Kansas.
Aside from the Final Friday opening reception, there is another opportunity to meet the artist and see his work at the “Art for Lunch” presentation held from noon to 1 p.m. on Dec. 4. The event is free and no reservations are required. A light lunch will be served on a first-come, first-served basis but guests can also bring their own lunch.
The Steckline Gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.