Anxieties abound

Anxieties abound

Patrick Duegaw's latest show puts fear on the stage.

FIRE IS A BIG ONE: The pieces in Duegaw's latest show fall mainly into realistic, literal fears and etherial moral concerns.

What: Patrick Duegaw, "The Innumerable Anxieties"
When: Opening reception: 7-9 p.m., Friday, May 15
Artist's talk: 1 p.m., Saturday, May 16
Exhibition runs May 15-June 16
How much: Free
Where: Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire Street, Lawrence

Patrick Duegaw is taking his latest show, "The Innumerable Anxieties" to Lawrence for a one-month run at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire Street.

"The Innumerable Anxieties" employs two intertwining narratives — a still play of realistic portraits and second narrative that is the myths and god-like figures that float in circus-like environments — to examine the ambiguous region between the opposite extremes of human behavior. Whereas the Seven Heavenly Virtues and Seven Deadly Sins have long served as idealized codifications of good and evil, Duegaw instead focuses on the trials of the human condition that are neither sinful nor particularly virtuous.

"I don't rob banks because I don't want to go to hell; I don't rob banks because I don't want to get caught," he said. "The idea being that here we have these guiding principles that are either wholly good or evil, but these multiple anxieties guide people in a more gray way."

The pieces in this show, with one exception, have not been displayed in Wichita — despite the fact that some of them are almost 20 years old. It is a concept that he has been working on for almost his entire career.

"You have this representational, realistic view of this character who could destroy everything around him," he said. These pieces are a more literal view of this anxiety. "In the meantime, there is this more etherial thing going on with these big pieces."

The circus-like elements of the big "god" pieces are to illustrate the less-real fears. "It's like a haunted house or a roller coaster ride — it's a fake anxiety. You know you aren't going to die, but you want to feel that way. The circus allows you to look at someone else taking this risk and get a thrill from it. "

Duegaw has had major solo exhibitions at the Wichita Art Museum and the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art at Kansas State University, and has been featured in several group exhibitions, most recently at the Yellowstone Museum of Art and the Ulrich Museum of Art. Duegaw shows regularly in Wichita, Kansas City and San Francisco. His next solo museum exhibition is slated for April-August, 2017, at the Ulrich.