|THE PITCH - November 8, 2007 / Kansas City
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By Chris Packham and Dana Self
Published: November 8, 2007
Bountiful Nora Othic's archetypal figures and her dynamic, posed compositions evoke regionalists such
as Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood but also such mid-20th-century muralists as Anton Refregier and Milton Bellin. In "Mean Bull," two laughing ranch hands dive over a fence, chased by an enraged bull. The masterly "Diner" is an energetically composed image of two waitresses tending a roomful of truckers. This group exhibit also includes Joe Gregory's archetypal landscapes — built up from simple geometrics and planes, he illuminates his intent with a realist's color palette, bathing his forms with light and deep shadows. Paula Hauser Leffel's impressionistic and seemingly optimistic still-life paintings are as much about brush strokes and texture as they are about her subjects. "Table With Apples & Pears" becomes somehow epic, larger than its subject. Keith Kavanaugh's landscapes are rendered in a palpably wintry palette, suggesting more detail than that which is present on the canvas; his pieces are haunting and mysterious. Through Dec. 2 at the Late Show Gallery, 1600 Cherry. (Chris Packham)
Thursday, December 7, 2000 / Lawrence Journal World
Matching subjects drives artist’s work
She finds art in simple life
Paula Hauser-Leffel finds art in simple things: pottery, dishes and pieces of fabric. But that's a deceptively easy conclusion to draw when viewing her still-life pastels and oil paintings.
In all actuality, it's the combining of the individual elements together and finding a cohesive pattern that really drives her work, and that's a bit more complicated.
Paula Hauser-Leffel, Kansas City, Mo., is the featured artist through Dec. 31 at Fields Gallery, 712 Mass. Leffel's oil painting at left is titled "Still Life with Yellow and White Eggplants."
"I like to paint and look at things how they can be put together on a table and I explore that," Hauser-Leffel says. "But what is most rewarding is that people who have them in their homes call me and tell me how happy the work makes them. Doing the paintings, that's what it's all about."
She's the featured artist of the month at The Fields Gallery, 712 Mass. Her work will be displayed through Dec. 31. An artist's reception is planned from 7-9 p.m. Friday.
Hauser-Leffel uses oil, pastels and even charcoal drawings, though the exhibit features primarily oil paintings. She strictly works from observation, spending four to five hours in her studio each day, seeking her own creative muse. Occasionally, she'll do a commissioned work, but mostly she paints for herself.
"I put together dishes and fruits and fabrics in combinations, and I work from observation. I'll do someone else's stuff if I can set it up, but it's the combinations that I'm looking for. That's where the energy comes from," she says.
And she finds lots of combinations and patterns. She's been painting and showing her work in the Kansas City area for several years. She's done solo exhibitions and juried competitions, and she also shows in selected private collections.
Chasing her artistic endeavors becomes more challenging when she factors in time spent as a wife and mother of two children. Sometimes she gets around that by combining her roles as mother and artist by using her daughter as a model.
It also helps that her attorney husband has his own workplace in the home, where he pursues his art through photography.
And what drew Hauser-Leffel, a Kansas University graduate, back to Lawrence? "The Fields Gallery," she says succinctly. "They've done a great job in making another gallery space available. And pictures show well there. The lighting is excellent."