Works from the ‘50s and ‘60s showcases the early work of Kansas City legendary Wilbur Niewald. In the ‘50s, Niewald focused almost exclusively on the landscape, responding to basic forces and rhythms from his subjects. Creating gestural drawings with charcoal and crayon, he would return to the studio and use these drawings as source material for abstracted paintings in oil. He continued with this method in the ‘60s, but the work itself became more open and expansive, and the palette turned bright and primary in color. Scale increased and the handling was freer, and Niewald utilized lines and undertones of color to create dynamic compositions through broad rhythmic strokes – a language that he employed for a decade. Toward the end of the ‘60s, while still abstract, more identifiable forms began to appear in the work. By 1970, Niewald had fully adopted the representational style he continues to employ today, which can be seen in this exhibition’s sister show, Recent Paintings.

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