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John Ernatt has been a painter and sculptor that has been active in the Wichita and Kansas art community for the past 25 years.He is one of the four founding members of Fisch Haus, a place that has found itself at the epicenter of Wichita’s visual arts renaissance over the last two decades and has become a cornerstone of the arts community.
The body of work represented in this show is all new, most of it created in the last 15 months. The process of discovery and the development of some new visual language has been both challenging and rewarding. Hand-made frames, unique to each painting, represent his fondness for being in the wood shop, and is a tip of the hat to the utilitarian sensibilities of many of the midwestern regionalist artists that took pride in taking part in every aspect of their work’s presentation.
Connie Ernatt creates bronze assemblages, that are often inspired from a single found object. Using chimpanzees as a sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant metaphor, she exposes the underbelly of the human condition – love, violence, humor, sexuality, and sadness. There is a hope that we might see ourselves in these works, prone to folly and bumbling in our escapades on the human stage.
John McCluggage is known for creating large, unique vessels that push the medium to its limits, experimenting with textures and glazes always trying to make it bigger and better. “For me, so much is about the process and making a strong honest statement. I enjoy seeing how far this medium can go.”
John studied ceramics at the Archie Bray Foundation in Montana, an internationally respected mecca for artists interested in the medium. After his time at Archie Bray, he spent two years working with monumental bronze sculptures at a Buddhist retreat in California before settling back in Wichita to teach ceramics and is currently working on building a kiln adjacent to his studio. The three pots included in this show have been co-created by McCluggage and his friend John Ernatt. They are a study in Balance, Harmony and Composition, and have proven to be a rewarding experience for both artists.