Haw Contemporary is pleased to announce a solo exhibition by Warren Rosser. Entitled Loose-threads:, the exhibition is Rosser’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery, and the first at our Lightwell space. Rosser is known as one of the region’s preeminent painters and educators, and his legacy looms large.

We invite you to join us for an Artist Talk, from 5-7 on Thursday, June 8th. Free parking in the garage, courtesy of Lightwell.

Loose-threads: is a conjunction of various viewpoints, material processes and conceptual longings that offer the viewer different avenues to approach the paintings. I wanted different images or associations to influence the work. Each layer has an orchestrated history, whether representational or abstract, at different levels of recognition. There is no hierarchy, just the fact that the elements exist. These are puzzles that offer an awareness of possibilities rather than finite resolutions, and so are not about knowing, but rather finding.

The use of fabric and photographic elements has allowed the unexpected to occur. I am interested in the processes of covering-up and the next moment’s revealing, of making an initial assumption and then changing one’s mind. Allowing the work to unfold and offer a different understanding of the layers is much like an archeologist’s process of excavation.

The title of the exhibition, Loose-threads, references a state of flux, a process of change. You pull a thread, it begins to unravel; that unraveling is where it gets interesting because it’s an opportunity to either repair or reconstruct, and leave evidence of the alteration.

I am interested in gaps and slippages, places where things don’t align, where a color is out of register, where something does not fit. These are sometimes called  imperfections, but that suggests an ideal finished state. This work is more about a process of change and adjustment. I’m not interested in protecting success, but rather exploring the unknown and taking what I know in order to discover what I do not. Whether by means of subtle adjustments or major re-tooling, I am looking beyond what’s been established and creating new platforms for discovery and research.

For me, painting in its broadest sense is about making, about discovering what the forms, processes, and materials should be. It’s about the conversations paintings have with each other, and how one creates the opportunity for the next. Sometimes the connection is tenuous, while at other times it travels down tangled pathways only to be understood in retrospect. The history of my practice has revolved around demonstrating how agile and expansive this discipline can be. I treasure the risk of exploring new frontiers.


Warren Rosser is the William T. Kemper Distinguished Professor of Painting, recently retired as Chair of the Painting Department at the Kansas City Art Institute after 28 years. Born in South Wales in the UK, Rosser moved to the US in 1972. Although trained as a painter, for many years he made sculpture and mixed media constructions. In 1998 he returned to painting, which he views in the broadest sense. His work continues to explore constructed elements that can exist on the wall, but just as easily on the floor. Many of these constructed paintings utilize store bought fabric and carpet built dimensionally but still grounded by the wall or floor plane. More recently his work has returned to a more conventional form of oil paint on stretched canvas. The work examines an abstract language, exploring architectural forms and constructed space with particular attention being paid to color and its transitions and subtleties. Printmaking is a tool Rosser utilizes to explore different attitudes to form and, particularly in his most recent monoprints, the multi-layer of color transparences creating the deep implied space. 

Selected solo exhibitions have included: Parade: Parallel Tracks at University of Leeds, England, and Jan Weiner Gallery in Kansas City; Repeat Offender at Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; Counterpoint at Epsten Gallery, Kansas City Jewish Museum; Hybrid View at Albrecht Kemper Museum, St Joseph, Missouri; AlternateTracking at Bemis Center for Contemporary Art at Omaha, Nebraska; Loitering with Intent, Unexpected Consequences, and Folding Space at Haw Contemporary, Kansas City, Missouri. Previously he has exhibited his work at the Tate Gallery, London, the KunstMuseum, Düsseldorf, Germany; the Galleria Del Cavallino, Venice, Italy; and at the Edinburgh Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland.

HAW CONTEMPORARY / LIGHTWELL 1100 Main St, Kansas City, MO 64105


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