Snapshot · JCCC Collection

Stephan Balkenhol · An Acquisition

In a celebration of Johnson County Community College’s permanent art collection, the JCCC Gallery of Art will present Snapshot: JCCC Collection. The exhibition will feature works by prominent regional, national and international artists in photography, painting and sculpture. The focal point of the exhibition will be Stephan Balkenhol’s Man Lying On Platform, which was recently purchased for the college’s permanent art collection by Tony and Marti Oppenheimer of Los Angeles, California.

Funding for the Balkenhol sculpture was provided by the Oppenheimer Brothers Foundation. The funds are administered through the JCCC Foundation and are used solely for the acquisition of sculpture and related expenses for the Oppenheimer-Stein Sculpture Collection. The funds allow for the acquisition of works by nationally and internationally recognized contemporary sculptors, selected by committee members Tony and Marti Oppenheimer and Bruce Hartman, director of the Johnson County Community College Gallery of Art. Hartman stated that ‟the acquisition of this major work by Stephan Balkenhol enhances the international emphasis of the Oppenheimer-Stein Sculpture Collection and extends its figurative direction. Man Lying on Platform is the first work by Balkenhol to enter an area collection, thus adding to Kansas City’s growing renown as a center for contemporary sculpture.” The addition of Man Lying On Platform brings to six the number of sculptures donated by the Oppenheimers.

Stephan Balkenhol, born in 1957, is a German artist best known for his figurative sculptures on pedestals that are carved from single blocks of wood. For Balkenhol, the pedestals play an important role in delineating volume and space in his installations. As a figurative sculptor, Balkenhol’s program is one of renewal and revision. The artist has clearly broken from the tradition of heroic representation in sculpture by using the relatively inexpensive medium of wood (as opposed to bronze or marble) to create figures that are ordinary rather than idealized, and anonymous rather than heroic. ‟With wood,” the artist describes, “I can achieve a sense of vitality not possible in marble or bronze.” The men and women portrayed represent the familiar strangers that occupy our everyday lives, wearing casual attire and vacant expressions as they stand firmly on their bases.

The artist works quickly and roughly with soft woods such as cedar, poplar and wawa, employing a chainsaw to hew the figure and pedestal from its block of wood. He then uses a variety of tools to achieve the desired detail, and finally paints the surface - except for the flesh of the figure, which is always left natural. One of the most appealing characteristics of Balkenhol’s sculptures is their sense of humanism, which is apparent in the representation of ordinary people, and also in the marks of the artist’s chisel on the well-worked surface, leaving one with a sense of the spontaneity that defines Balkenhol’s process.

Balkenhol received an MA in Art Education from the Hamburg School of Fine Arts in 1982. He was awarded the Karl-Schmidt-Rottluff Grant, the Baden-Württemberg International Prize and the Bremen Art Prize. Recent solo exhibitions include a major retrospective at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., as well as exhibitions at The Arts Club of Chicago, the Centre European d’Actions Artistiques Contemporaines, Strasbourg, Germany, the Saatchi Collection in London, and the Kunstmuseum in Wolfburg, Germany. He has been commissioned to create public sculpture in Germany, Spain, France, Switzerland, South Africa and Denmark. Stephan Balkenhol lives and works in Meisenthal, France.

Kansas City artist James Brinsfield was born in 1949 in Chicago. Brinsfield earned a BFA from the University of Illinois, Chicago, in 1974, and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1976.

Thomas Joshua Cooper was born in San Francisco in 1946; he now lives in Glasgow, Scotland where he founded the fine art photography department at the Glasgow School of Art in 1982.

Missouri artist Tammi Kennedy has a Masters in Art Education, 2002, and a BA, 1989, from Southwest Missouri State University. She has taught art at Liberty High School in Missouri since 1992.

Born in Bangkok, Thailand, in 1966, Udomsak Krisanamis attended Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, and earned a BFA in 1989. He came to the United States in 1991 and graduated with an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1993.

Born Jersey City, NJ, in 1948, Jonathan Lasker attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City as well as the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California. Lasker lives and works in New York.

Chicago artist Kerry James Marshall was born in Birmingham, AL, in 1955. Marshall received a BFA in 1978 and an honorary Ph.D. from Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles, CA.

Julie Moos was born in Ottawa, Canada, in 1965, and she currently lives and works in Birmingham, Alabama. She has degrees from the International Center of Photography; New York University; the Sorbonne, Paris, France; and McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

Elizabeth Murray was born in Chicago, IL, in 1940 and received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1962 and her MFA from Mills College, Oakland, CA, in 1964.

Leslie Wayne was born in Germany in 1953 and grew up in California. She studied painting at the University of California, Santa Barbara, from 1971 to 1973, and she received her BFA in sculpture from Parsons School of Design, New York, NY, in 1984.