Studio Visit With Garry Noland

By Clayton Skidmore

What is a mid-career artist?  Does it describe an artist’s income or how influential they are?  Ayla and I pondered these questions over beers with Garry Noland in our recent studio visit.  It became the initial topic of our conversation, an idea that Garry himself seemed confused of since he’s been a practicing artist for over 30 years. As a prerequisite to having his studio at Studios Inc., being mid-career seems to be a loose title assigned to a group of artists with widely varying years of practice.  If age isn’t a variable, what does it mean to be mid-career in a city where it seems there are not enough collectors to earn a living, and to gain prestige artists have to show outside of their own city?

I would offer that it’s the measure of Garry’s gratitude that defines him as a mid-career artist.  His enthusiasm in his materials and process pass effortlessly to their viewers. Material curiosity is the predominate subject. Be it covering his studio floor with duct tape and ripping it up to create wood grain textures of actual splintering loose wood, or wrapping National Geographic magazines in tape to make layers for sculptures about sediment drifts. Garry places himself as the archeological interpreter of his material experimentations. Understanding the coding of his abstractions isn’t as important as simply empathizing with the artist’s handiwork. 

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One response to “Studio Visit With Garry Noland

  1. Colby K Smith

    Although mid-career artist is a flexible category, The Studios Inc (SI) defines a mid-career artist as an artist who (1) has worked as a studio artist for at least seven years since undergraduate studies or the professional equivalent has been completed; (2) has a body of work that has a fully developed style or language. Such artist’s work has maintained a presence for a number of years, evidenced by regional and national recognition through publication or public presentation of his or her work. This artist also has had a significant number of solo exhibitions at significant galleries and museums located locally, nationally and/or internationally. However, even with such recognition of the artist’s contributions to the art community, the artist has not attained a following of collectors/patrons that provides a sufficient level of income to both encourage and enable the artist to focus solely on his or her artistic career. By providing studio space, professional development, networking, and exhibitions in Greater Kansas City, The Studios Inc facilitates the endeavors of mid-career artists to further their careers.

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