Coutts Memorial Museum of Art

El Dorado, KS



The Art of Gary Carson


The Coutts Museum of Art will host "The Art of Gary Carson" through April 26, 2000. A special reception for the artist, public viewing and sale will be held at the museum on Sunday, April 9 from 2 - 4 p.m.

Gary Carson was born in Wichita, Kansas, graduating from Wichita State University with BFA and MFA degrees in the 1960's. His major was in painting with a minor in printmaking; during this time his art was influenced by Robert Kiskadden and David Bernard. Gary cofounded the Art Village League; which was Wichita's first cooperative art gallery and studio, and he began to exhibit his work in local art shows.

During the 1970's Gary became an artist-in-residence at Clifton Square at Studio C and began teaching classes out of his studio. Harry Litwin began to collect his work and he had his first one-man show at Litwin Corporation. He also won his first national award at the Oklahoma Watercolor Society Show.

It wasn't until the 1980's that Gary began to define his painting with a love of the American Landscape. This began in his travels to the Western states where he found a great affinity for the wide open spaces of New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Utah. His paintings were inspired by the light, color and structure of New Mexico. Since that time, Gary spends a part of each year painting and absorbing New Mexico's wonderful landscape. Another influence on Gary's painting at this time was visiting his cousin, Bruce McGrew, at Rancho Linda Vista, an art commune outside of Tucson, Arizona. Bruce was a Professor of Painting at the University of Arizona and an influential painter of the Southwest. Bruce and another friend at the Ranch, James Davis, shared their insights and encouragement, becoming an inspiration to Gary in his painting.

In the '80's Gary began exhibiting extensively with one-man shows and receiving awards such as the Kansas Watercolor Society Koch Award given by nationally acclaimed artist Mario Cooper. In 1985 he traveled to Europe for the first time, painting in England, France and Yugoslavia. To him traveling is like painting, a great adventure. In 1987 Gary became Visual Manager for J.C. Penney, Towne East in Wichita, retiring in 1998. All the while, he had continued exhibiting locally and nationally, receiving numerous awards.

Gary's work has expanded to include a number of media including oil, acrylic, watercolor and mixed media. He continues to paint in the Southwest and enjoys plain air landscape painting. He also continues to travel to such places as Nova Scotia, British Columbia and Scotland. In Scotland he painted in a watercolor workshop with Bruce McGrew. Gary enjoys painting the landscape, but at times returns to figurative painting, such as a series of paintings of artists he did last year. He has also begun to introduce the figure into his landscapes. This is a natural progression for him.

In 1998 Gary opened the Carson Gallery and Studio in Wichita where he paints and shows the work of local and regional artists. This provides an outlet for his work and allows him to meet and show other artists. There are many talented artists in Kansas that need exposure to the public. He has also begun collecting art of other artists in the last few years. For him making art, like life, is an adventure. He enjoys experimenting with media and finding new ways to express the way he sees the world around him.

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