The Vanessa Lacy Gallery’s April show “Voyage” is a collection of local artwork inspired by the journeys of four artists, Vanessa Lacy, Allison Olsen, Joseph Lorusso, and Kathleen Engstrom. Every artist has his or her own story on how they got to where they are now. Whether it involved attending art school, learning on their own, trauma, recovery, or finding inspiration in new things, most artwork stems from personal experiences or memories.
Vanessa Lacy, a long time Kansas City artist, has beautiful Kansas City scenes on display this month. The largest painting in the show, “Bridge Just Before Dusk”, is one that Lacy has worked on for quite a few months leading up to the Voyage opening reception. She has been experimenting with new textures and ways to layer paint. In this piece in particular, Lacy has used spots of metallic gold paint to accent certain parts of the painting. Smaller work from Vanessa Lacy is also available for sale, including many different urban cityscapes depicting prominent Kansas City landmarks.
Allison Olsen is a new artist to the Kansas City area. Originally from Manhattan, KS, she moved to the city to work as the gallery manager of the Vanessa Lacy Gallery. Olsen graduated from Kansas State University in December of 2017 with a Bachelor Degree in Fine Art. Over the last year Olsen has been studying plant forms and using them to create complex environments that she calls “plantscapes”. She currently has eight paintings on display in the Voyage show, three of larger size and five small studies.
Joseph Lorusso is another long time Kansas City painter. He currently has a studio space in the Livestock Exchange Building, the same building where the Vanessa Lacy Gallery is located. His stunning portraits are dream-like with their limited palettes and light brushstrokes. He has concentrated on honing his powers of observation, especially as it concerns to color, texture, form and composition. Lorusso’s paintings have been described as warm and dreamlike, places of restful escape with a sense of spirituality, and share timelessness with the works of other eras.
Kathleen Engstrom creates dark, whimsical sculptures that have a delightfully eerie presence to them. She uses discarded scraps of material such as metal, glass, and paper in her work. Engstrom also uses found objects and paperclay to create her sculptures. Her pieces raise questions of what goes through her mind as she makes them. These sculptures express vulnerability that inevitably leads to shared conversations.
Together these artists create a beautifully diverse show that portrays each artists’ individuality.