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Wonder Gallery to reopen, featuring Matthew Willie Garcia prints, a ‘Utopian Bookstore,’ and ‘blobby things’

Wonder Gallery, shuttered since the beginning of the pandemic, will reopen this month with an expanded focus on home items alongside rotating artists’ exhibitions.

The gallery will pick up right where it left off, featuring the works of printmaker Matthew Willie Garcia. The exhibition, “Speculative Romance of Space and Time,” was unavoidably postponed in March 2020.

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Products at Wonder Gallery will complement the featured artwork. In this case, that includes items that will be “very textured and blobby,” co-owner Meredith Moore said in a news release — a range from glassware and Japanese candles to everyday objects such as clothespins and rubber bands.

“I love blobby, amorphous shapes and ideas. To me irregular, curvilinear forms are always beautiful, and occasionally I’ll find one that’s also useful — maybe settled into the shape of a candle or bud vase,” she said. “So there will be a lot of lovely blobby things folks can enjoy in the shop, which will nicely complement all the undulating ribbons and curves in Matthew Willie Garcia’s prints on view nearby.”

Matthew Willie Garcia via Wonder Gallery Prints by Matthew Willie Garcia, left to right: “Superstate No. 1,” “Superstate No. 2,” “Superstate No. 3”

Wonder Fair, at 841 Massachusetts St., has occasionally sold ceramics and candles, “but they would sometimes feel like an afterthought as our shop grew to specialize primarily in prints, stationery and writing and art supplies,” co-owner Paul DeGeorge said in the release. 

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Wonder Gallery, which first opened in September 2019, “will be a compliment to our flagship that will allow us to bring special focus to just a few nice things that are in some way particularly special and clever, but which could easily get lost in the shuffle at our busier shop,” he said. 

A “Utopian Bookstore,” filled with art books (about an artist or art movement) and artists’ books (by artists themselves) will be another feature of the Wonder Gallery. 

“Artists operate at the vanguard of culture and we rely on them to help us envision and articulate possibilities for the future,” DeGeorge explained. “The books we stock in the Utopian Bookstore don’t necessarily prescribe any direct pathway toward utopia. Instead they help us consider the world we live in and to think with intentionality as we work to build a better world together. I know that maybe sounds kinda pretentious, but I’m holding out hope that that’s the basic goal for humanity.”

OBand via Wonder Gallery OBand rubber bands
Areaware via Wonder Gallery Areaware Kirby Vase

Featured artist Garcia, who is also the print studio coordinator at the Lawrence Arts Center, specializes in “4-D printmaking,” which “brings the fourth dimension of Time into a working and display process that includes screen printing, drawing, projection-mapped animation, and large-scale installation.” 

“Like the (space-time) continuum, the works within this series explore what it means to be formed of space and time and uses these ideas to talk about the fluid nature of existence, and explore what it means to be queer,” Garcia said in the release. “The exhibition draws from ideas of quantum mechanics, cosmology and astrophysics to speculate what it looks like to have a queer fluid existence. This is a series of speculative/science fiction that strives to explore the ineffable qualities of the universe and what it means to be intrinsically tied to every aspect of the universe.” 

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Garcia is an alum of the Kansas City Art Institute and holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Kansas. His work has been included in the “Queer Abstraction” group exhibition at the Nerman Contemporary Museum of Art and it will be part of an upcoming exhibition in Nara, Japan, “SUMI-FUSION.”

Moore said she has tried to follow the curatorial principle of designer/philosopher William Morris: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” 

“This adage becomes more meaningful as we consider what our role is in the wider community, to both usefully serve and creatively inspire the people who support us,” Moore said. “As we reopen the Wonder Gallery, we’ll be doubling down on our efforts to abide by that philosophy.” 

Wonder Gallery, 15 W. Ninth St., will hold its grand reopening and reception for “Speculative Romance of Space and Time” on this coming Final Friday, Oct. 29. After that, the gallery will be open for regular hours from noon to 6 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. 

Wonder Fair Wonder Gallery, 15 W. Ninth St.
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— Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached via email at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com or 785-422-6363.

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