An Artist's Perspective: Mullins' 'Fire In The Paint Locker'

Apr 24, 2019

Artist Kevin Mullins passed away unexpectedly last year in Wichita at the age of 68. His passing marked the end of an amazing life and prolific career that will become so apparent once you arrive and step into the retrospective show being given in his honor at the Ulrich Museum.

The show opens on the first floor with a plethora of rich prints, in suites, that are so crisp and clean they vibrate. The elevator to the second floor contains photos of Mullins at work, along with a few of his quotes. Once on the second floor we find an installation containing some 240 mixed media screen prints on X-rays simply titled “Shackleton.” The other two galleries hold paintings and screen prints, in monumental sizes done on panel, canvas, and neatly, on beautiful aluminum.

Colors are astounding in this show. Mullins managed impossible greens that before only existed in deep jungles. The abstracts consist of dot grids, layered over in blazing wave lines and blocks of explosive color. If you sat 4” from a high-def TV, showing images of flower gardens and took digital photos of the screen, you would most likely be left with bright, pixled, still photos that might give an idea of a Mullins image. They are precise. They are crisp. And they are important. The finishes are deep, and waxy.

The Ulrich is packed full of these works, each a new experience. There isn’t a way to view this exhibition and just walk away. You will return again because you will be haunted by the work rendered by his hands. Mullins was a true master, and there was only one of him. This will likely be your only chance to see this much of his work in one place. It is a symphony.

Kevin Mullins, Fire In The Paint Locker, through August 11th.

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