Cancer and Victory in the Valley. (Day 63)

Rubicon, LS12-48

“Rubicon,” 36x36in, acrylic and spray paint on canvas.

In December 2000 I was diagnosed with cancer. I rang in the new millennium by losing a body part and getting blasted with radiation. Those events have shaped a lot of my artwork, including the decision to become a full-time artist in 2008. Where am I today? In a word – thankful.

Create for the Cure, a benefit for Victory in the Valley, Wichita, KansasVictory in the Valley in Wichita, Kansas provides cancer support services at a time when patients and their families are at their most vulnerable, physically and emotionally. When I learned about Create for the Cure as a benefit for Victory in the Valley, I knew it needed to move, pretty much, right to the top of my list.

This work, “Rubicon,” will be auctioned off on October 26, 2012 at T & J Studios, 144 N. Emporia, Wichita, KS. As you make your Final Friday rounds, please stop by to view and buy from the donated artwork contributed by numerous artists for this very deserving organization.


105 Horizons. (Day 91)

105 Horizons, at Artworks, 7724 East Central, Ste. 300, Wichita, KS. Opening Final Friday, Sept. 28, 2012, 6-8pm and continuing through October 2012.

Unintentionally coinciding with Kansas’ propensity to shoot itself in the foot, I decided a short while back to look at our state differently. Ah, Kansas. “Everything looks the same,” if you aren’t looking. My wife and I, having grown up in rural Iowa and Kansas respectively, felt the need to look further and reconnect with our roots. The 105 Horizons project was born.

Butler County 2012-08-02

Coffey County 2012-08-05

Sedgwick County 2012-08-07

We resolved to travel to all 105 counties of Kansas, spend time in a county, photograph the vistas, but mostly, simply wait quietly and soak in the essence of just being. Kansas, with its “miles and miles of miles and miles” begins to take on a new look when we take the time to really see. And from that experience, acrylic on canvas abstract paintings are made that are inspired from that waiting and seeing.

Prototypes of those paintings are currently being shown at The Gallery at Pioneer Bluffs in Matfield Green, KS, and the 5.4.7 Arts Center in Greensburg, KS. These experiments have led to the first of the 105 counties paintings, which are now being shown for the first time at Artworks, 7724 East Central, Ste. 300, Wichita, KS. The opening reception for that show is Final Friday, September 28, from 6 – 8 pm.

It’s not a good idea to wait for inspiration. Instead, roll up your sleeves and look for it. It was there all along, waiting for you.

105 Horizons is sponsored in part by:
Lawrence Photo, Wichita KS
Happy Shirt Printing, Lawrence KS

Build A Better Mousetrap. (Day 93)

You were expecting a metaphor? No. It’s fall, and I found myself needing to “build a better mousetrap,” for real. This DIY mousetrap hack is so effective – true story – I once caught two mice at the same time in one.

Build a Better Mousetrap

Take one standard issue mousetrap (this one is from Menard’s.) I prefer the ones with a metal food clip instead of plastic, but that’s only because I found plastic to be a bit trigger-happy. Drill a small hole in the food clip and from underneath, screw on a small electrical alligator clip. I drilled a hole through the wooden base for a small screwdriver to fit through, to make it easier to attach the alligator clip. You’ll see the screw sticking through on the left side of the alligator clip.

In the jaws, in the photo on the right side of the clip, you’ll see it is also wired on solidly. In lieu of that, you could glue the clip on. Experiment and be creative. When all of this is done, I like to glue the whole mouse trap onto a length of yardstick or cardboard to make it easier to position when it’s set, and to retrieve. Add a piece of hard old cat food or dog food in the jaws. Blammo.

The trick to building the better mouse trap, of course, is in the alligator clip. It holds a chunk of hard food they have to really get their teeth into, and by then it’s too late. Humane? Discuss amongst yourselves. Me, I don’t like mice running around the house. The end.

Grounding. – solo show

Tilting Windmill 1

Tilting Windmill 1, a motorized kinetic sculpture part of the "Grounding" solo show by Lee Shiney at the 5.4.7 Arts Center in Greensburg, Kansas; Aug. 9 - Oct. 5, 2012.

“There is a logical sequence of revelations in the process of art making, of trial-and-error and cause-and-effect. Everything is interrelated and yields what I do today. I grew up in rural Kansas. I drove tractors and combines and gazed at the horizon that was everywhere. Going around and around and around, is all part of that history. These works are that four-way intersection of looking ahead and looking back, balancing the tangible and intangible. It is a grounding process.”

Lee Shiney is a full-time painter and kinetic sculptor whose art and “art-making-art” machines are responses to high-art, art accessibility, and personal illness. Homemade turntables, spray devices, and paint dripping machines are some of the hardware used in his painting processes. Recycling and repurposing is an ongoing theme, as is constant experimentation with non-traditional painting surfaces. He was part of the three-person “InterACTIVE” exhibition at the Wichita Art Museum from 2008 through 2010, and divides his time between commission work, shows in the midwest, and artist residencies in schools through Arts Partners Wichita.

The 5.4.7 Arts Center is located at 204 W. Wisconsin Ave., Greensburg, KS 67054.



The Merc. (Day 141)

I was asked by The Merc in Lawrence, KS to display art in their eating area. This is no big white box, but a small, intimate and well-lit room. People using the space are right up by the art, and I liked the feel of the space. These are photos of the show, titled Kansas, Abstracted (click for artist statement.)

Tallgrass 22x64" $1200


Buffalo Grass 30x48" $1200


Updraft 30x48" $1200


Center Pivot Horizon 22x36" $700


Opportunity Window 30x64" $1500

Nocturne 16x44" $900


Tilting Windmills. (Day 147)

Tilting Windmill 1

"Tilting Windmill 1" shown at the Go Away Garage Gallery, July 2012

In 2008 I was fortunate to be included in a three-person exhibition at the Wichita Art Museum entitled “InterACTIVE,” a show that was popular enough to run for two years. Integral to the artwork developed for that exhibit was the site-specific “Moiré Wheels” kinetic sculpture, made from 50 bicycle wheels.

Drive mechanismBorne out of that concept is the freestanding “Tilting Windmill” series of kinetic artwork utilizing bicycle wheels and off-the-shelf hardware. What took me two years of experimenting was finding a robust method for powering the wheels. Bead chain, like the kind found on keychains, was the solution to issues of reliability and tensioning in the drive mechanism. The first of these new sculptures was shown at the “2 Wheel Cheap Thrills” show at the Go-Away Garage Gallery in July 2012.

S5 Title System. (Day 151)

Named with the S5 Title System

Cubicle Art named with the S5 system

A while back I developed a little system for naming certain artworks I make. Everyone seems to want titles for artwork…except me. On some work, like the recent landscape series, I have seen the light and put some thought into representative titles, like this piece titled “Tallgrass”. But this is not about those titles.

I would prefer, of course, for artwork to stand on its own two legs. As a compromise, what I’m doing is titling small work that used to simply be given a catalog number. I located a Scrabble word list for all five-letter words, then printed it off. As I use a word, it gets crossed off. With 9,200 words, give or take, it will last a while.

It was something of an inside joke. This whole story probably doesn’t sound particularly interesting, but it took a small jump forward today when I officially named it the “S5 Title System” (Scrabble-5-Words.) Creating some new, small work segued into artist statement sheets to go with them, which segued into needing to explain the titles. It’s a marketing exercise. And now it’s official.

Kansas, Abstracted. – solo show

Artist statement for “Kansas, Abstracted.” Solo show at The Merc, 901 Iowa St., Lawrence, KS, July 1 – August 3, 2012.

Genesis 5 lists the lineage from Adam to Noah, memorable to me for its repetitive, archaic use of “begat.” In that chapter a visual picture of people is painted of the continuum of family history stretching from, literally, the beginning of time to end. I contemplate this because in my studio, one painting process begets another.

A parallel narrative to this esthetic reproductive process is the one of extracting a visual history from my own head. Much of that history is wrapped up in rural Kansas where I spent plenty of time on tractors and combines, going around and around. There was time to think, under a big sky with a horizon all the way around.

These landscapes are that four-way intersection of looking ahead and looking back, and balancing the tangible and intangible. My art-process evolution is a vector of exploring and experimenting with new mediums and equipment. It is appropiate that the search for visual material brings me back to basics and back to my own history. Back to where I belong.

Lee Shiney is a full-time painter and kinetic sculptor living and working near Wichita, KS. His solo show “Taut” is running concurrently at OfficePort in Kansas City during July. He was in the three-man “InterACTIVE” exhibition at the Wichita Art Museum from 2008 to 2010, is a mentor artist for Wichita Art for Arthritis, and is a teaching artist for Arts Partners Wichita.


Taut – solo show

“Taut”, Solo show, July 6 – July 31, 2012, OfficePort KC, 208 W 19th, Kansas City, MO. Opening First Friday reception: July 6, 5:30–9:00pm.

Show statement:

Portability is an essential quality of tapestries; Le Corbusier called them “nomadic murals.” They made artwork portable for kings-on-the-go and doubled as insulation in wintry castles. Tarps, the utilitarian cousin, get the job of covering and protecting. Once they were made from waterproofed canvas and lasted forever.

Combined, there is “Taut,” opening July 6 at OfficePort Kansas City. This solo show by Lee Shiney examines paintings in a context of ease-of-transport and utility, eschewing the rigidity of standard art practices like gallery-wrapped canvas and properly primed surfaces.

“If art is about experimentation and breaking rules, then why am I confined to that rigid little rectangle?” ~ Lee Shiney

This dichotomy is explored through the use of large unstretched canvases. Grommets in corners, they are painted with graffiti spray paint and acrylic paint dispensed from soda bottles, and hung from whatever happens to be nearby. A self-taught artist who simply wants “to keep making things with my hands” Lee Shiney looks to the physical properties of objects as the starting points for creating. He also makes kinetic sculpture and makes machines that help paint. From 2008 to 2010 he was in the three-man hands-on exhibition “InterACTIVE” at the Wichita Art Museum, Wichita KS.

“I think of tapestries, tarps, and boat sails as the great-great-great grandparents of this current work. The language is in utility. This is about ease-of-display, and portability. I’m not fighting the substrate, but simply letting it dictate the outcome. People want this to be either sacred or rocket science. It is neither.” ~ Lee Shiney



Transcribed Natures group show

“Transcribed Natures” Final Friday group show curated by Ken Boe Petersen, May 25, 2012, 416 S. Commerce, Wichita KS.

Show statement by Ken Boe Petersen:

Some artists may be content to imitate nature, while some may come to see themselves as artist-agents of nature in their own right; that art may be a simultaneous act with/in nature, not just up against it. This exhibition is intended to be a quasi-curated transliteration of that question regarding the artist’s relationship to nature in a very open-ended manner.

In this group show the artists’ works range from the sublimely modern yet beautiful landscape paintings of Lisa Grossman; the story-telling landscape photography of the Flint Hills, by Mark Feiden; to the more abstract nature of artwork by artists as diverse as the Sculptor Bill McBride, Kent T. Williams, Lee Shiney, and myself, Ken Boe. Of particular interest will be Bill McBride’s mostly free standing sculptures, which will walk the visitor through the different environs of the greater 2-D ecosystem of the exhibit.

It was in my conversation with the Bill McBride concerning his work’s relationship to nature that we came back to the notion that for both of us, two artists manipulating found objects that themselves have been manipulated by nature’s elements, found ourselves in union with that inner process of nature, not just merely following it.

But this is not to the exclusion of imitation in art. It seemed entirely necessary to include artists doing representational art of the landscape, to complete this circle. No matter how abstract our own natures, the love of that larger nature of Self/Earth/Universe includes the ancient human symbolization of it as much as its modern detachments: The man-made object – subjected to the entropy of rust, weather, wear, and disintegration back into the landscape; or the mere splattering of pigment according to her gravity.