“Sociopolitico” Engraving Exhibit to Open Friday

The Mercer Gallery at Garden City Community College is pleased to announce the opening of “Sociopolitico,” an exhibition featuring engraving arts professor James Ehlers from Emporia State University.

The solo exhibit will feature prints and engravings by the artist which delve into our complicated relationships with mass media and social media.

It opens this Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m., including light refreshments. As always, Friday’s program and the ongoing exhibit, which runs through the end of February, is free and open to the public.

Ehlers, an accomplished artist who earned his Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Florida, has reached international recognition for his skills in engraving. In fact, the ESU professor runs the only program in the nation that offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Engraving Arts, according to Michael Knutson, a GCCC art instructor and director of the Mercer Gallery.

Ehlers said he likes to record and examine his reactions to the consequences of the internet and technology. The information he is exposed to makes its mark on his psyche, resulting in words and images that “percolate in his journal and marinate for weeks or months,” according to the artist.

“I am given reminders of what makes me less of a person in the material objects I don’t possess,” Ehlers said. “I see attention and anger as the great opiate of a culture.”

Ehlers said his ideas are then decontextualized and reconstructed in a collage of pessimistic observations.

“Through this process, narratives evolve and (my) subjects become visualizations of fear and apathy, a retort to an alarmist media and reactionary culture,” he added.

Printmaking and other pieces by a select group of Ehlers’ students will also be displayed in the back gallery during the length of Ehlers’ show this month.

While the artist will be not be available at Friday’s opening reception, the GCCC art program will host Ehlers on Friday, Feb. 28, for a metal engraving demonstration. This demonstration is also free and open to the public and will run from 1 to 4 p.m., in the Pauline Joyce Fine Arts Building, room 1413.

The Mercer Gallery is open Monday through Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, contact Knutson at 620-276-9644 or michael.knutson@gcccks.edu.