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Epp Takes His Artist’s Eye to Central Asia in Museum Program

Phil Epp may be best known for paintings that evoke the wide-open spaces of the Great Plains and American Southwest, but his love for art has taken him across the world.

He will share some of his experiences in “Images of Art and Design in Central Asia,” one of Kauffman Museum’s periodic Sunday-Afternoon-at-the-Museum programs, March 12, at 3 p.m. in the museum auditorium.

It is free and open to the public.

Epp will present an illustrated talk describing his observations on art and design while traveling in Kazakhstan in 2009 as a part of the U.S. State Department’s Art in Embassies program.

Kazakhstan borders Kyrgyzstan, the country of origin for the wall screens displayed in Kauffman Museum’s current special exhibition, “Reeds & Wool: Patterned Screens of Central Asia.”

Epp will highlight similarities between patterns and designs in the museum exhibit and artwork he encountered while traveling. 

A native of Henderson, Neb., Epp is known for his paintings, murals, prints and sculpture.

Much of his art is inspired by the cloudscapes and landscapes of Kansas and the Southwest. Typical of his easel paintings (often acrylic) and prints are low horizons broken by wild horses or agricultural buildings, saturated blue skies and stylized clouds.

Epp also has received a number of public mural and sculpture commissions – in Newton, the “Blue Sky Sculpture” in Centennial Park features his images, and was voted one of the Kansas Sampler Foundation’s Eight Wonders of Kansas Art.

He maintains an active studio near Newton.

Epp began formal art studies at Bethel College in 1965 under the tutelage of Bob Regier, Paul Friesen and Mike Almanza. After his college career was interrupted by alternative government service during the Vietnam-era draft, he graduated in 1972.

He then taught art in the Newton public schools for 30 years, retiring in 2003. He received the Kansas Governor’s Art Award in 1985 and, in 2016, became a member of Cowboy Artists of America.

Epp is represented by the Reuben Saunders Gallery in Wichita, the Alexandra Stevens Gallery in Santa Fe, the Leopold Gallery in Kansas City, Mo., and the Modern West Gallery in Salt Lake City.

Regular Kauffman Museum hours are Tues.-Fri. 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 1:30-4:30 p.m., closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission to the special exhibit, “Reeds and Wool: Patterned Screens of Central Asia,” and the permanent exhibits – “Of Land and People,” “Mirror of the Martyrs” and “Mennonite Immigrant Furniture” – is $4 for adults, $2 for children ages 6-16, and free to Kauffman Museum members and children under 6. The museum store is open during the museum’s regular hours. See kauffmanmuseum.org or the museum Facebook page for more information.

Source: Bethelks