Patrick Duegaw, John Ernatt, Eric Schmidt and Kent Williams

April 16 - August 7, 2011
Polk/Wilson galleries

Creativity, collaboration and community--Wichita’s Fisch Haus emerged from and consistently promotes the intersection of these three principles. In 1990, four friends--Patrick Duegaw, John Ernatt, Eric Schmidt and Kent Williams--formed the artists’ cooperative. At first known for their temporary ad hoc exhibitions in vacant downtown buildings, in 1994 the members established a physical location by purchasing a warehouse on Commerce Street. A vacant building when they moved in, the warehouse now shares the artists’ name--Fisch Haus--and is home to an array of living, studio, performance and exhibition spaces. Masters of ingenuity, the artists have spent years constructing these spaces with scavenged, reclaimed and inventively repurposed materials. Walking through Fisch Haus, one encounters creativity at every turn.

Over the past 21 years, its quartet of founding artists have developed their own distinct creative careers: Duegaw and Ernatt are accomplished painters; Schmidt works with sound and sculpture and patents inventions; and Williams’ thoughtful public art projects can be found throughout the city. As these friends have followed their individual artistic paths, Fisch Haus--the place--has become a cornerstone of the Wichita arts community and is recognized for making critical contributions to the development of the city’s increasingly dynamic network of alternative arts venues. Each year, Fisch Haus presents a rich roster of multi-disciplinary exhibitions, musical and theatrical performances, lectures, readings, films and festivals.

The Ulrich anniversary exhibition celebrates the important contributions that Fisch Haus--Patrick Duegaw, John Ernatt, Eric Schmidt and Kent Williams--has made to Wichita. The show presents a survey of artworks made by the founding Fisch Haus artists over the past two decades. Including a new collaborative installation by all four artists and the debut of a Duegaw painting commissioned by the museum, the show promises to engage both those well versed in Fisch Haus history and Ulrich visitors unacquainted with this vital arts collaborative. In typical Fisch fashion, it invites everyone to enjoy and be inspired.

The Ulrich organized this exhibition, and Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Emily Stamey wrote the accompanying 56-page catalogue. This exhibition and catalogue have been made possible through the generous support of Emprise Bank, Kansas Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, Edward and Helen Healy, the Docking Family and Jayne S. Milburn. Additional sponsors include Allen, Gibbs & Houlik, L.C., Bill Jinks, Mosby Lincoln Foundation and Mike and Dee Michaelis. Support has also been provided by Chris Brunner and Sonia Greteman, Dr. and Mrs. Hew Goodpasture, Rex and Denise Irwin, Herb and Kathy Krumsick, Bruce and Linda Schreck and Keith and Georgia Stevens. The Wichita Arts Council provided artist awards to support this exhibition.

Click here for a complete list of Fisch Haus events.

Fisch Haus artists: Eric Schmidt, John Ernatt, Kent Williams and Patrick Duegaw

Patrick Duegaw, 'Two Rooms with Insufficient Light (or) Portrait of Kent and Mel' (detail), 2007. Mixed media on sheetrock, 60 by 114 inches. Collection of the Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Museum Purchase