Monday December 5th I was in Concordia, Missouri, on the campus of St. Paul's Lutheran High School, to look at works my father had made.
Thanks to the Director of the school Paul Mehl and the Advancement Director Bart Mueller, I was shown a marvelous wood-carving on the lobby wall of Krueger Dining Hall.
A bas-relief carved from a single piece of wood. Roughly measuring two feet wide and three and a half feet tall and a depth of one inch. Here, Bart Mueller holds a ruler next to the carving. Double click to make image larger.
Paul Mehl told me it was called "Paul In The Face Of Christ."
Look closely to see a face within a face. The way the two persons meld in the design reminded me of the illustrations by William Blake.
Could this exquisite piece have been carved by Reinhold P. Marxhausen of Seward, Nebraska?
That work raised many unanswered questions.
Today Dec 7 I found two other carvings my father had chiseled out of stone.
The Eagle which hung around our house when all of us lived on Columbia Avenue. We had moved there in 1964.
The tall marble cylinder that was among many works Dad had on his studio deck, next.
The Head of Christ, above. Below, photo of Reinhold cutting on the marble cylinder, in his office space studio - on the third floor of Founders Hall. Early in his teaching career as Art instructor at Concordia Teacher College in Seward, Nebraska. He started teaching in the fall of 1951. My guess, that photo is no later than the mid-1950s.
How did Reinhold get connected doing artwork for St.Paul's College in Missouri?
A couple thoughts: his bride Dorris Steinbrueck was from Blackburn in Lafayette County. That campus was nearby. There is the Missouri Synod Lutheran connection. It is hard to say. But I am hoping to hear from others who know something about St. Paul's College and High School and more about this unusual wood-carving.
It was the miniaturist Ambreen Butt who talked about the lengthy steps making her art. The wesselly was a paper surface made of gluing fine cotton to silk - then flattening the sheet with pressured passes of a conch shell. Top to bottom and right to left - over all. Brushes were made from squirrel tail hair put in a pigeon shaft. Tiny distinct marks placed in layers to create the intended pattern. She described the intimacy of working. Sitting on the floor with her painting in her lap, taking the time to do it. "A very meditative process," she said. As she continued about her ideas, she kept coming back to the layers, the process. The words that came to my mind were TEDIOUS and INTENTIONAL and ENGAGED and IMMERSED. Mylar plastic sheets with the slight brushed on layer of transparent acrylic paint. Something for the watercolor strokes to rest upon. Outline drawings of people. Her pushing a threaded needle through the layers of plastic. "piercing the layers with thread" for the six foot tall creation. Gentle mark making with pencils shaved careful to a point for her work "Ideas Of Rightness And Wrongness." How she had trained to apply slight pressure in those graphite drawings.
My mind drifting to the nylon thread stitched under burlap and around the tree branch. Selecting shapes from materials I have chopped apart - squashed dirty plastic bottles and slivered aluminum. Laying out arrangements on the burlap screen. The absence of music - shuffling shoes on the floor - my mind engaged - drinking in - floating on - what will click what the materials will speak - the arrangement being next to butted up against another shape. The opened bent back flanges of soda can remind me of The One, like a bird, like a star, his presencewanting to be right next to mine- active - influencing leading cheering and moldingour dance together.Mashed and stripped long bean pods from Shanklin Street - a rust fuzzy layer from inside a carpet pad - sunglasses in a bottle. I am placed where his ways can be remembered. His hands shaping my heart to receive his mercy and laughter. Ambreen's talk on Saturday left me feeling KINDRED to those important steps of making - what I call lemteyoso. I told her afterwards that "all the time you put into the producing the work will not be appreciated by the audience. But I am glad you told us about the steps and their importance to you." I shook her hand and blessed her. She smiled. And gave me her signature. Collages for me. Arabic letters and resin for her.
eighteen years ago i remember stowing plastic debris in a bag, looking along the main street curb. see knit glove (left) and can (below).
shapes were first arranged into a design, then glued to the cardboard. works were christened with a lifenote that the Lord brought to me. over the years these works have spoken purpose from the Lord.
two weeks ago i was stirred up by bean pods (above, below) from an autumn branch laid out like lace across an asphalt road. the dark brown outer covering had been crushed apart by the tires of passing cars. my heart lept. carefully the exotic pressings were laid between paper towels and loaded in my truck. mmm. wow. scooped up bright orange fresh pine needles where root school once stood. excited. when i got home i located burlap from the days i worked with the youth group. found nylon fish line and needles for stitching. double click on image to enlarge.
then, finding the right straight tree branches to top the burlap (below). seated in the warm sun outside. needle and fish line stitch ed over under through burlap, securing the surface to the branch. four units ready to use (next).
with pliers in hand mater ials were twisted and cut into smaller sections. what came to mind was making resistance bend. the pruner sliced bottles, chunks of alu minum and steel into strips. the ac tivity of breaking apart that which restrains reminded me how stubborn mind-locks can be, my own bull-headed ways, the way tears have released buried pain from my own past,
occasions when jesus infused my soul with his embracing accepting restoring peace.
dirt was washed off items outside in a tub of water. fabric and items laid on burlap and set aside. designs are set out to be looked over, come back and look again.
Two minute studio view.
torn plastic (below) reminds me of a bird or the holy spirit. yes!! rigid shape is glued to burlap and secured in place with cloth espins until it dries.
flowing arc of colors: silver, blue, silver, gray, red. paint can lids propped out with wood block under the edge. broken fountain drink lid, candy wrapper (below). i like this arrangement. i approve their fellowship and dancing. the rest the the design --- waits.
in crinkled tin (below) i see figure approaching with arms up, robe flowing, face towards me. crafted felt behind make the figure float outward. now the tin becomes someone else to me. partial lifenote is already a love=note to me. one who lifts and supports and tears up my eyes with joy.
profile of singing face (next) cut from fabric of graduation cap. (below) gray silhouette to the right, rejoicing, dancing, amidst praises and jubilee to the Lord. scrip tures say the Lord inhabits the praises of His people. his life giving hope nourishing depression dispersing presence manifests and lifts our mental and physical state when we sing and speak and lift his name and extol him and exalt and magnify and enlarge and enjoy his personality. 2nd chronicles 20 verse 15 through 29 (old testament) describes a battle the Lord wins, defeating three armies against Judah, when the people spoke words and sang melodies lifting up their praises to their Lord and Savior, with the Lord doing all the fighting Himself. Let - Me - Tell - You - Something LE-M-TE-YO-SO (lem-tay-yoh-soh)
"Me at the Instruments - Stearing My Underwater Vessel- Complete With Sonar Equipment And Air Tanks" by Karl Marxhausen. Pencil and Wax Crayons on Paper, March 3, 1990, Norwalk, California
I'LL TELL YOU SOMETHING ABOUT MY HUSBAND KARL.
WHEN HE JOURNALS AND COLORS AND DRAWS ANDWRITES ----- WHEREVER HE IS ------IT TAKES HIM AWAY. IT MEANS SO MUCH TO HIM. REMEMBERING GOD'S PRESENCE.
Nelson Atkins Print Society Presentation: Intersections With Fred Geary - Karl Marxhausen
THIS IS THE SATISFACTION OF RESEARCH. +++ WHAT THE LORD BRINGS YOUR WAY FOR YOU TO FIND +++ AND THE ENERGY TO PURSUE THE DOORS HE OPENS.+++ BLESSED BY HIS NAME. +++ JOEL MARTY
IT WAS A YELO CAR. A BRIGHT YELO CAR. SEVERAL OF THEM. AS THEY PASSED BY, I COUNTED THEM. THEN AN IMPRESSION CAME - I WAS NOT ALONE. THAT I WOULD FIND MY DESTINATION. AND I DID. BUT IT WAS THE LARGE "K" ON THE SIDE OF THE RED BARN WITH THE WHITE CIRCLE AROUND IT THAT MADE ME CRY. MY FIRST NAME STARTS WITH A "K." AS WE PULLED INTO OHIO THERE WERE THREE OVERPASSES WE DROVE UNDER. NOT A RUSTY BROWN OR DINGY GREY. ALL THREE WERE BRIGHT CANARY "IN-YOUR-FACE" YELLOW!!! THREE IS MY FAVORITE NUMBER. HOW TO EXPLAIN IT. FOR ME, IT WAS A PRESENCE BESIDE ME, REMINDING ME I WAS BEING THOUGHT OF, I WAS NOT ALONE. OFTEN ABSENT FROM MY THINKING, SURPRISES COME. MY ANXIOUSNESS IS TAKEN AWAY. CALM SETTLES IN WHEN HIS KINDNESS COMES. karl marxhausen
"ABOUT YOUR DAD: THE BLESSING THAT CAME INTO HIS LIFE WAS CONCORDIA. THIS SETTING HELPED HIM BECOME THE PERSON HE "BECAME."AND BY SETTING I MEAN THE COLLEGE AND THE CITY OF SEWARD. NO QUESTION ABOUT IT. IT WAS THE PERFECT SPOT FOR HIM."
JACK DUENSING, SEWARD, NE.
owner of "Sundown" from Seward, NE
Welcome. In retirement my art shows up as words typed on the page. The world of Harry Alfred Fowler fascinates me. My town is a rural farm community. Fowler worked in Kansas City. He brought art folks together. I've been pursuing discovery since 2011. Like Fowler I am gleaning from many sources to share the delightful nuggets that appeal to me. I too have organized, self-published, done art, learned, tried it out. New ground, new discoveries, these fuel my dreams. A book of my own with drawings. In the meantime there are dishes to wash and daily routines to follow. Thanks to friends around the globe who have been a resource to me. History ties a name to a place and a time and then is published and used by the rest.
"SOUNDS LIKE GOD HAS BLESSED YOU WITH YOUR ART. YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION TO MANY!!"SANDY QUICK, KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
"MAKES PERFECT SENSE TO ME, KARL. I UNDERSTAND THE PRIORITIES OF KIDS. YOUR DAD WAS JUST A "REGULAR DAD" EXCEPT THAT HE TOUCHED A LOT OF PEOPLE'S LIVES, AND THAT MADE HIM EXTRAORDINARY!!!" MATTHEW G. HANSEN, LINCOLN CAPITOL PRESERVATION ARCHITECT
"ALWAYS ENJOY YOUR BLOG, KARL --- YOUR FUN STORIES, CREATIVE WORKS, AND PHILOSOPHIES ON LIFE!! THANKS!" LOIS MEYER VOELTZ
"HOW COOL IS THAT KARL!! CONGRATULATIONS AND KEEP AT IT - YOU ARE DOING WONDERFUL WONDERFUL WORK."RICHARD HAMILTON, KANSAS CITY, MO
"KARL PAINTS WITH STRONG STROKES - SOMETIMES ALMOST SLASHES. HE SAYS IT ALL, FEARLESSLY, IN A FEW WELL CHOSEN WORDS FROM HIS PALETTE. HIS SUBJECTS ARE SIMPLE EVERYDAY THINGS THAT HOLD THE GREAT PLEASURES." PHIL CHADWICK, PAINTER, ONTARIO