Thursday, January 12, 2012

An Interplay of Energies

Yet another departure from previous incarnations of ARTKC365: Where the former versions were all about art you could see on the day of the post, this time around there will be previews.

Tomorrow night, the new-look (make that new-looks) VALA Gallery in Mission puts on its first visual arts event since the main gallery moved to its new space in the former Mission Theatre Lounge at 5903 Johnson Drive. It's a good move: more space, better lighting and an easier flow for gallerygoers.

In the back room of the former space at 5815 Johnson Drive, now the home of The Hope Chest consignment shop, painters (and VALA interns) Corbie Leslie and Natosha Keefer will host open studios. When you go, you should expect an energy-filled evening.

I've seen both of them paint live, Leslie last fall at her first ElleSea Art event at the Brewtop in Lee's Summit and Keefer in December at one of VALA's monthly poetry nights. The experiences were anything but carbon copies, and the same holds true for their respective styles.

Keefer (above) works in bright, vibrant colors (and yes, that's glitter you will see adorning some of her finished pieces), taking in the energy she receives from and perceives in others and transferring it to the canvas. The results will vary, of course, but Keefer's own artistic aura shines through each of them.

Leslie (below) is a dynamo in her own right: Artist, promoter, networker and arts activist. Her own emotions and energy come across clearly in her work, which is by turns bright and shadowed, bold and subtle. In each of her pieces, there's a clear (almost physical) sense of persistent vision and unstoppable purpose.

Open studio events offer viewers the opportunity to be where the creative alchemy happens. It will be interesting -- in all of the good ways -- to see how these two artists' already strong energies work and (inter)play together in their shared space.

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