This month’s featured artist has it ‘in the bag’

By Dania Jumpa, Staff Writer

If you attended the “In the Bag?” exhibit by artist Seth Blume in the Steckline Gallery and have been wondering what was in the bags, you are finally able to find out today. The exhibit started last week and Shannon Johnston, director of the Steckline Gallery, said that the the exhibit consists of a series of sculptures that have been concealed by yellow plastic trash bags. Viewers are then able to walk into the gallery and try to figure out what could be inside.

Blume, who lives in Wichita,  graduated from Wichita State University, where he focused mainly on sculpture and graphic design. He has experience with various mediums, including installations, murals, film and sculptures, Shannon said. Blume states that the inspiration for this exhibit began years ago with the concept of covering things up. He says that he loves the mystery and the questioning that comes with the idea of hidden items. As a result, he wanted something that would spark the imagination of the viewers and allow them to connect with the exhibit mentally. Finally, in October 2018, Blume said, he began to execute and fine-tune the exhibit.

Blume says that he has trouble throwing things out, so he likes to use recycled materials, such as machine parts, tennis rackets, rubber, paper and paint. The items for the exhibit were not randomly chosen, he said, but each piece was carefully planned. Blume wanted for each piece to tell a part of his own story, his process of self-discovery, he said.

Blume says that he wants people to take away from the exhibit a deeper meaning about him questioning if anything can be called permanently secured. He says, that “these bags are hiding elements to different events from my life that I thought were secured, taking the shape of my bag.  They want to come out and reveal themselves, as if there was a shaky sense of conviction.”

Viewers first caught a glimpse of the exhibit when it opened on March 29, but anyone is still able to go for free until April 19th, when those who saw the bagged item will then be able to confirm if what they believed to be in the bag was correct.

Blume hopes that people will return to the exhibit to see when the sculptures are un-bagged. Already, two sculptures have been revealed, but the last of them will be unveiled today. Thus, making it two art shows within one, which Johnston says, she hopes engages people to connect with the playful nature of Blume’s work.

In the future, Newman University students and staff can expect to see more works by Seth Blume, who says that he is currently debating between two ideas for creating an exhibit that will be “more illustrative on a larger scale.”

PHOTO: SETH BLUME is the artist behind the mysterious yellow bags that currently sit in the Steckline Art Gallery. Courtesy photo, Steckline Gallery