March First Friday


2012 Baltimore Ave.   I  Kansas City, MO 64108  I  816.474.1919   Thurs-Sat. 11 am-5 pm
First Friday Opening
March 6, 2015
6 pm -9 pm

Falling Memorial, 2002, oil on canvas, 20" x 16" 

Samuel Bak in Studio
Illuminations: The Art of Samuel Bak
Works on loan from Facing History and Ourselves


March 6 - April 25, 2015
Main Gallery



Select paintings provided by the Pucker Gallery in Boston
Exhibition made possible by the support of the Sosland Foundation and Bryan Cave, LLP

In cooperation with the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education




The art of Samuel Bak weaves together personal and Jewish history to articulate an iconography of his Holocaust experience and his perceptions of a world that lives in the shadow of the crematoria chimneys. Across seven decades of artistic production, Bak has explored and reworked a set of metaphors, a visual grammar, and vocabulary that ultimately poses metaphysical questions. His art depicts a world destroyed, and yet provisionally pieced back together. "As I was a witness to this darkness, my art chose to mirror it.  But it always speaks for the Hebrew word Tikkun 'repair' as well" he says.  "I hope, I have grandchildren" Samuel Bak was born in 1933 in Vilna, Poland, to an educated, cultured, middle-class family. As Vilna came under first Soviet and then German occupation in the early 1940s, Bak and his family, along with the other Jews, were moved to the Vilna Ghetto.  It was there, at the age of nine, that Bak had his first exhibition of drawings.  His family was then sent to a labor camp, from which he and his mother were smuggled out and given refuge in a Benedictine Convent.


Of the 55,000 Vilna Jews, less than 2,500 survived. He and his mother were the only members of his extended family to survive.  After a couple of years in a Displaced Persons camp in Germany, Bak immigrated to Israel, where he studied at the Belzalet Art School in Jerusalem. In 1956, he moved to Paris to continue his studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and subsequently lived in Rome, New York City, Switzerland, and since 1993, outside of Boston, Massachusetts where he became an American citizen. 


Since 1959, the artist has had numerous exhibitions in major museums, galleries, and universities throughout Europe, Israel, South Africa, and the United States. Bak has been the subject of numerous articles, scholarly works, and fifteen books. In 2001, he published his touching memoir, Painted in Words, which has been translated into several languages. He has been the subject of two documentary films and was the recipient of the 2002 German Herkomer Cultural prize.  Samuel Bak has received honorary doctorate degrees from the University of New Hampshire, Seton Hall College, and this coming May, the Massachusetts College of Art.


The artist and his wife, Jos´┐Że, together with Bernie and Sue Pucker, donated the paintings for the ILLUMINATIONS exhibition to Facing History and Ourselves, an international educational organization whose mission is to engage students and adults of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and anti-Semitism in order to promote the development of a

more humane and informed citizenry. 




Current Perspectives Lecture Series

Bernie Pucker

Major Themes in the Art of Samuel Bak


March 5, 2015 at 7:00 pm

Epperson Auditorium in Vanderslice Hall at the Kansas City Art Institute

4415 Warwick Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64111


* This event is free and open to the public







The Kansas City Jewish Chronicle

"Bring an Open Mind" by Barbara Bayer


PDF        ONLINE 






Jean Van Harlingen: Passion for Paper

Curated by Don Lambert


March 6 - April 25, 2015

Back Gallery



On the forefront of the hand-made paper movement beginning in the mid-1970s, Jean exhibited her art locally, nationally and internationally.


She and others elevated paper making from craft to art by infusing the traditional with contemporary ideas of abstraction, experimentation, and scale. At the same time, giving  a nod to those who had gone before them.


These new paper artists were often not so much interested in shows and sales, as in process. That messy but exhilarating effort of making art. In pulp and pigment up to their elbows, their tired bodies were often covered with flecks of color.


Empowered by the women's movement, she bashed the confines of the medium, gender roles, and herself. When progressive bad health tried, she bashed right back. She had much to do and would do it her way.


Jean Van Harlingen died last year at the age of 67. She had MS for 45 years.


A portion of the proceeds will benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society,

Kansas City Artist Coalition, and Human Rights Campaign.



A Remembrance of Jean Van Harlingen

Leedy-Voulkos Art Center

Saturday, April 4, 2015



Among those making remarks will be Jean's twin sister, Jane Van Harlingen, Dallas.













Shadow Over Gethsemani 1, 2015, oil and egg tempera on canvas, 36" x 58"


Christel Highland

Presumed Distance

March 6 - March 28, 2015

Front Gallery 


'Presumed Distance' is a phrase pulled from Susan Sontag's essay "The Image World." This ongoing body of work explores the human experience and our presumed distance from death, one another, and nature. The landscape backgrounds are reinterpretations of landscape photographs taken at Thomas Merton's Gethsemani, the place where he spent his last years cloistered, with delicate shadows placed on the surface.




"Silence is also conversation."

-Ramana Maharshi


This work is a cycle of remembrance, recognition, and forgiveness; an effort to show the circular, unending, and intractable nature of time; an exploration of the potentiality for transmutation. In addition to linking seemingly disparate moments, the work serves as a platform for reasonable emotional investigation rather than reactionary action. Of her work she says "I study historical events, cultures, figures, and methodologies, and then reimagine them. I think of each piece as a conversation between me, the material and time, and if I've done my job well, they have a life when the conversation is complete."


Highland's practice is driven by a deep desire to capture moments of simple, beautiful brilliance wherein the earth or sun have a conversation with what man has constructed. She feels we must constantly search for that beauty and Nature's dominance in order to live lives respectful of what we have inherited. This work exists without interest in perfect  representation- wholly focused on perception driven by connection to process and history. The planning, sketching, mixing, and preparations allow the material to have an equal place of importance as her hand. The composition is planned, but each step presents itself while the last dries. In that manner, the work never stagnates, the process is never predictable.


After 12 years dedicated exclusively to the Theatre and Film Arts as a Costumer and Wigmaster and finally an Artistic Consultant, Highland chose to focus on Clothing Design. During the course of her first collection, she painted a dress and could never turn back. The immediacy, terror, and thrill inherent to that manner of mark making was painstakingly explored- painting first on silk and then paper- where she remained for more than three years before working on canvas. After spearheading a year-long, fully-funded and scientifically-approached research project documenting her process with natural media, The Permacolor Project, Highland now primarily paints on wood and canvas. She mixes much of her paints herself through ancient methodologies utilizing oil and egg tempera. She also occasionally makes beeswax sculptures. Compositionally, she explores the fleeting and fluid nature of time and material through the insertion of shadows into varying man-made and natural settings.


Christel Highland resides and works in the Crossroads Arts District founded by her artistic mentor and friend, the great Jim Leedy. In addition the maintaining her art practice, she curates and manages MLB Gallery, a quarterly Salon for the Arts in her studio, and writes for KC Studio Magazine. She also has the tremendous pleasure of raising two incredible works of pure art, her sons Clive and Otto. They serve as studio assistants, fashion advisors, and her greatest source of inspiration.  












"Untitled" 2015, foam, paper, adhesive, latex paint, polyurethane, TV, digital film) 104" x 81" x 13"
KCAI: Undergrads Underground


A Place Called Home


March 6 - March 28, 2015

Lower Level Gallery

BOIBOY is a Kansas City based multimedia artist working in film, installation, fashion performance. He has an interest in community engagement with the non profit youth art organization MYARTS for the last five years and is a current student in the Fibers department at the Kansas City Art Institute. His work tends to address issues related to ones relationship to home, spirituality and religion as well as self identification in a playful oversaturated and over stylized manner.His work is an attempt to make tangible the idea of fictionalized memories that have come to represent a stylized view of ones own history. Playing with the mix between fiction and reality personal symbolism he creates a playful interpretation of the world around him through experimentation with personal symbolism, color, form, and proportion.







Justin Baldwin
January 2 - March 28, 2015
Opie Gallery

I believe in the experiential alchemy of art by which one can transform

life's lead into fool's gold.


Values, belief systems, identity, socioeconomics, multiculturalism, and

the mythology of modern life all inform my art.


I hope that what I make can return the kindness of people giving it their

time by giving them something to make their own.


                                                                          - Justin Baldwin




In Quotes From Underground Justin's attempt at "experiential alchemy" include images, objects, and words used to explore values, belief systems, socioeconomics, multiculturalism, and the mythology of modern life. 


Underlying issues of science vs. spirituality, money vs. religion, business vs. war, as well as the artist's own experiences of "art and life in transit" all inform the work.


Justin Baldwin's drawings, paintings, and sculptures mix visual vernacular borrowed from various sources, re-contextualizing icons and ideas originating in the ancient as well as the everyday to create implied narratives that speak in terms more poetic than linear, transforming more than telling, and asking more than answering.