"Characters & Perceptions" September 7 - 30


Sharon Gradischnig

My present body of work is an exploration of portrait and figure. Consideration is being given to what constitutes a portrait. In that direction, I am working with the idea of identity through individual portraits of models, people I know, and mug shots, in which case there is consideration for sociological implications of the individual and crime. Some of this exploration looks at race, sex and social placement. Most of the work is a gathering of samples placed in a relational context.

This is an outgrowth of my long time interest in the individual and society as a whole, and the context of the moment and the continuity of time and being. The body of this work is of individual moments in one person’s state of being as well, as relationship gatherings, which sometimes talk to each other

Personal experiences affect my work in various ways, many of which I have not been able to manifest to date. My present work, especially a body of work that I have just started, reflects a life long interest in interest and participation in justice issues as well as my interest in how people relate to one another in their similarities and differences.

As a child of the civil rights movement of the 60’s and as the grand daughter of a devout Quaker who lived the philosophy of helping your neighbor and supporting the equality of all without prejudice or judgment, I am imbued with the necessity to find meaning by standing up for these values. I am somewhat surprised to see the way those values are now manifesting themselves in my work.

My primary formal concerns are finding color relationships to create expressive context and finding the figure gesture that is agreement with the message. Some of my mentors and influences to these endeavors are Max Beckman, Henri Matisse, Paula Moderson, Richard Diebenkorn, Alice Neel and KCAI painting faculty. 

Oil paint is my medium of choice because of both the high regard in which I hold the tradition of oil painting and the ongoing change that artists provoke upon how oil paint is used. I find oil paint to be rich in the manner in which it can be molded and share the dance of creation. It is a medium in which the painter can endlessly learn and grow aesthetically and in skill. It is both forgiving and demanding, as is life itself.

As a 2014 Kansas City Art Institute graduate, I have continued my lifelong practice of participating in group shows in both the Kansas City area and throughout Iowa. I recently completed a two month residency in Corning, IA, where my focus was portraits of local residents. I also dabble in abstract and landscape painting, portrait sketches and ceramics.

Cyncha Jeansonne

A native of Louisiana, Cyndi graduated from Charity Hospital’s School of Radiology in New Orleans at 19 years old.  It was during these years in school when she began to develop her need for artistic expression and began taking watercolor and toile painting classes.  She painted abstracts to give to the girls in her dorm with the paint set her brother, Jim Jeansonne, another accomplished artist gave her.  Cyndi later progressed to working in oils during free time at school. 

A few years later, she married and moved to Kansas City.  Here, she enrolled in every art class that Johnson County Community College offered which included: drawing, sculpture, painting, silversmithing and pottery.  She experienced working with a wide variety of materials and tools, such as, welding, oxyacetylene, bronze and silver lost wax casting and clay. 

While taking these classes, Cyndi developed and launched the Creative Workshop and Gallery in Shawnee, Kansas to offer artists individual studio spaces to rent.  The workshop studios consisted of sculpture, welding, pottery wheels, kiln with three 2” gas burners, for large bisque firing, photography with developing bins and chemicals, silversmithing with centrifugal casting, painting, and batik with dye bins.  The Gallery also gave the artists a place to exhibit their work. 

Cyndi was determined to further her career in art and was admitted to the Kansas City Art Institute.  She was even given a full semester’s credit for her work with Creative Workshop & Gallery.  After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture from KCAI, her art evolved to creating environmental projects that were more

experiential.  Some of these events were titled: “Women in Glasses,” at Douglas Drake Gallery,  “Bed of Glass,” “Bed of Feathers,” and an insurance company’s consignment to create sculpture and a fountain for their 3 story atrium, titled “Rain Forest.”  She also continued to create personal artwork, such as 3-d collages, and paintings in oils and acrylic. 

Upon moving back to Louisiana in 1988, she returned to the medical field and eventually started a medical staffing business called Medical Personnel Specialists. While running and growing this business for 16 years, working on art projects

remained an important creative outlet.  After closing the business in 2012, she moved back to Kansas City to be closer to her two children and their families. At this time, Cyndi changed her name from Cyndi Ketchum to Cyncha, her French grandfather’s version of Cynthia and went back to her French maiden name, Jeansonne. 

She is continuing to pursue her love and interest in creating and working in various materials. When working in her studio, she enjoys the focus and the process of developing a piece over time. It’s very rewarding to create a piece of work that visually actualizes an idea.