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Leslie vonHolten

Stories by Leslie

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Speak, Memory

Jennifer Holt's ghosts of everydays past

The wheat hangs heavy, white and ghostly, upside down. When it's fired, it will be hollow, standing upright as a brittle indicator of what was inside. Wheat, of course, is Kansas. Or the memory of Kansas. Artist Jennifer Holt is leaving town soon.

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Pop! Art

Artist Brian Stuparyk and his 3-D playground

Some folks say Brian Stuparyk grabs life by the horns. He'll approach any stranger and introduce himself. Before you know it, said stranger is elbow-deep in a conversation spanning three countries, historical trends in art production, and the symbolic ennui of, say, a smashed-up cigarette butt. For instance.

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Art Gallery and How!

New Wonder Fair space opens for business, magic

Eric Dobbins is under the gun. "Renovation is such a slow process. I won't be completely satisfied until there's some art on the walls," said Dobbins. "Getting some people down there will be a big step."

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Art World Player

A buyer's guide for the down and out

If art according to your walls is some water-damaged drywall and your roommate's Hendrix poster from freshman year, fret not: you can be an Art World Player by summer. OK, so maybe "Player" is a bit strong, but Collector: now that we can do, easy. There's a learning curve, but it's a fun one. And trust me: it's more about the hunt than the money.

Islands in the Midwest

Clare Doveton's map of the (inner) world

Paint tubes on the floor, canvases stacked against the wall. Themes emerge, with the occasional odd surprise poking through (abstractions, thick paint, scratch marks, then a rabbit shooting out of a sewer pipe?).Pan out: an old couch, a work table, computer. Then a stage, with mics. Some chairs.

Dollars and Sense

Annual Arts Center auction should benefit collectors <em>and</em> artists

Are you prepared to make a gift? It's a malleable question. Say it through clenched teeth, and it's a threat. Add some pep, and you sound like a perky telemarketer. One thing about this opener to the artists' page of the Lawrence Arts Center's 28th Annual Art Auction is clear: Artists, check your ego at the door.

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Poets & Songwriters

Duo collaborates and creates in the spaces between

Let's be clear from the get-go: There's a difference between songwriting and poetry. Poetry leans on the words themselves to convey mood. Good lyrics, however, weave into the music to make a whole. The music provides cues to the emotion and intent of the writer. In a nutshell.

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Keepsakes & Reminders

Natalie Anne Dye's modern tintypes

Sunday night, the newly painted walls of the Bourgeois Pig opened to the smallest of art exhibits: tiny, locket-sized photographs by Natalie Anne Dye. The images, framed in small, recycled tins, are of clouds, trees, utility lines, architectural details, snow-what Dye calls "accumulated fragments of dream moments, ambiguous casual magic, and hushed narratives."

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Daily Compositions

Liz Gardner's New Year's resolution

Liz Gardner's Ground Rules, c. 2007:1. There are no mistakes in art.2. It is just one day. There are hundreds more to come.3. If you have an idea, run with it. Don't worry about how it will come across.4. Do not invest a lot of money in materials. First and foremost use what you see around you. 5. Don't stop at 3, 6, or even 8 months. Finish out the year!

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Earth, Wind, & Fire

Clare Doveton's past is new again

It's the perfect season for this Clare Doveton show. The fields, harvested to the soil, are down to their elemental basis. Likewise, Doveton is exploring, through her painting, the idea of a personal fallow period.

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The Rest of Her Life

The new book by Lawrence author Laura Moriarty

A few years back, Laura Moriarty hosted a board game/tag sale fete in her home. She was out of here-with her creative writing master's completed and a fellowship at Phillips Exeter Academy on her horizon, she rolled out of Lawrence with her old dog, the skeleton of a story, and not much else.

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Sand in the oyster

The debut art opening by Alec Joler

The images of your day are pearls to Alec Joler. "I really like the idea of found imagery and assembling different things," Joler explains, setting up a theme to his varied visual work.

Old Man's Curse

I never feel the heat closing in, this 10-year specter over my head, setting up his flaccid old man revenge fantasy, putting a curse over me and my home maybe a higher-up elbow in Kansas City, vault a decade and two cities, catch a flexible writing gig:

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Angel of East Lawrence

The philosophy and art mayhem of KT Walsh

KT Walsh is a compulsive artist, marrying pre-existing, found objects to traditional materials like paint, chalk, and poetry. Nature plays into the sculptures, too, as does her old house. The result is frenetic, but oddly homey. Comfortable. This is a celebration of life at its most blessed-completely harmonic, intrinsically bizarre, gorgeous to see.

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Sum of All Things

Ben Ahlvers bridges disparate worlds with sculpture that's <em>anything</em> but 'whimsical'

Ben Ahlvers grew up in Granite City, Ill., a blue-collar town northeast of St. Louis. Like all manufacturing towns, it's struggling: the community profile web site glosses over the "in transition" downtown culture and promotes the ease of parking at Wal-Mart.

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The New Land Scape

A conversation with printmaker Shawn Bitters

In a short time, we have progressed from wanting to respect and protect the environment (you know, all that stuff outside) to worrying about our carbon footprints and our monetary support of pesticides-in other words, our role within the environment. Makes sense, then, that art will evolve from its millennial adoration of nature to an exploration of an individual's experience within it.

Location, location, location.

It's a tried and true cliche in real estate, and it's now the crux of a debate in the local art community. Some Lawrence artists are speaking out against the proposed site for the "Kansas River Expression of Soul," an environmental art park slated to begin on the east end of Burcham Park this summer.

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Life strands

Lawrence artist's surrealist connections

Perhaps it's the primordial nature of someone born with a twin, but local artist Hong Zhang works with connections.

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Barbaric yawp

Lawrence artist Aaron Marable unleashes his own voice with traditional frame, respect for roots

Aaron Marable is unshakable. In this world that scoffs tradition and history, we're constantly reinventing the rules. The mantra's steady hum numbs us: Make it new, noticeable, a large bang on the limited attention span of the national mindscape.

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Curry's fire still burns hot

The man behind that famous painting of John Brown (finally) gets an opening

Imagine John Brown without the lens of John Steuart Curry.

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Can you smell what 'The Rock' is cookin?

Lawrence architect Dan Rockhill re-envisions Midwest vernacular

As adjectives go, "idiosyncratic" is not one usually flung in drive-by comments on Dan Rockhill's designs. Weird, freaky, modern, cool, ugly, minimal, hip: adjectives reflecting tone and intention, but all of which together imply: idiosyncratic. Rockhill's buildings stand out in the community for their contemporary design, so much so that people seeing one of his houses for the first time can often tell 'that's a Rockhill.'

Control freak

When elements of chance don't fall Lawrence artist Marc Berghaus' way, his art smashes them to atoms

Chance, meet the ire of Marc Berghaus. Berghaus' mindscape is an anxious one, but he doesn't leave its manifestation to insomnia or ulcers. Instead, when elements of chance don't fall his way, he'll twist, tear, or smash them to atoms.

A Rivera runs through it

Dave Loewenstein's 'outsider' art

Art world gadabouts accuse him of letting the commoners dilute his vision, but muralist Dave Loewenstein prefers the peanut gallery to theorists any day.

Art a la carte

The juxtaposition of a few events I attended last month set me thinking about what can happen in an active arts community within one short decade.

Moving in moving out

Artistic collaboration aims to change fate of blighted Topeka neighborhood

A storage facility or a car wash. That was the feasibility assessment of property at Adams and 29th streets in Topeka -- an area that had not developed economically in nearly 20 years. The response by developer Diane Botwin Alpert: progressive architecture and contemporary art.