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Tumblewebs or Spiderweeds?: WT Art Professor Anna Lemnitzer's Inspired by High Plains Landscape in New Exhibit—Through Feb. 26 in Canyon, TX

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Photo courtesy of WTAMU
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Anna Lemnitzer, assistant professor of art and design, makes adjustments to a sculptural piece inspired both by spiderwebs and tumbleweeds. The piece and others will be featured in an exhibition of Lemnitzer's work that will open Jan. 27 in the Dord Fitz Formal Gallery at West Texas A&M University.

We welcomed a new voice on the air as we interviewed Anna Lemnitzer about her new art exhibition on display now at WTAMU in Canyon, TX. Check out "Manifestations," a collection of work inspired by our spectacular High Plains landscapes, the Palo Duro Canyon, and the sneaky spiders that surround us all.

We were thrilled to invite Anna K. Lemnitzer, Assistant Professor of Art at WTAMU, onto High Plains Morning for a chat about her latest exhibit, "Manifestations." It's on display now at the Dord Fitz Gallery on campus at WTAMU in Canyon, TX through February 26th. Though Anna moved to the Texas Panhandle in Fall 2021, she's already been consumed by the beauty of our High Plains region. The new exhibition explores her recent experience on the flatlands, especially how our landscapes and nature enlighten and inspire. We talk about the pandemic, student resilience, and how all High Plains residents must just in to the power of spiders. (Well, it's true!)

Hear our full interview by clicking the audio feature on the top of this page, and catch the exhibition by the end of the month!

Also, Anna referenced a project being sponsored by The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA. It's called the Gen-Z Time Capsule, and participants born between the years of 1997 and 2012 can contribute images to their online time capsule. Images submitted should be those that you feel best represent your generation. Explore over 100 objects in the Gen-Z Time Capsule on this link.

MORE ABOUT "MANIFESTATIONS" (by Chip Chandler, WTAMU): Like a famous predecessor, a new West Texas A&M University art professor is finding the Canyon environment to be especially — perhaps even magically — inspirational.

Anna K. Lemnitzer, who started in fall 2021 as an assistant professor of art and design, moved to the area from the Allegheny region of Pennsylvania and previously lived in Montana, Arizona and Oregon.

Nowhere before had she ever encountered the Panhandle’s iconic wide open spaces, nor a natural landmark like Palo Duro Canyon, nor the explosion of colors that burst across the sky at sunrise and sunset.

“I feel like it’s magical, I really do, and it became a challenge when I moved here,” Lemnitzer said. “I knew I would have to become bigger than I was before—bigger in my views, my perspectives.”

The results of her first few months in the Panhandle will be seen in her first WT art exhibition, which will be on view through Feb. 26th in the Dord Fitz Formal Gallery in Mary Moody Northen Hall.

“When Anna first arrived, I told her that she would be surprised how living in this region would affect her art,” said Jon Revett, the Doris Alexander Distinguished Professor of Fine Arts and art program director. “I told her it will be interesting to see what her work looks like in five years, and I can see that she has already immediately responded to her new environment.”

That’s the same trajectory followed by perhaps the most famous artist ever connected to WT — Georgia O’Keeffe, who taught at WT as well as in Amarillo and Canyon early in her career.

“This is a period of radical innovation and the moment when O’Keeffe’s commitment to abstraction is firmly established. The watercolors and drawings she created during that period provide ample evidence of the significance of this moment in O’Keeffe’s artistic formation,” according to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

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Photo courtesy of WTAMU
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Anna Lemnitzer poses with a sculptural piece combining elements of spiderwebs and tumbleweeds.

Lemnitzer said she’s particularly drawn to the “intensity” of the natural environment.

“I have a giant window in my bedroom, so I see these beautiful colors of the sunrise,” she said “I usually am inspired by the people around me, their patterns of behavior or their personalities. It’s been a long time since I’ve been inspired to create art about a place, so this is a lot of fun for me.”

Lemnitzer said she also was inspired by annoyances that long-time High Plains residents know well, from an infestation of brown recluse spiders to the proliferation of tumbleweeds streaking across the roads and gathering in doorways. The pair of occurrences inspired pieces that incorporate handmade netting that combine with tumbleweed in sculptural pieces, as well as in paintings and graphic pieces.

“This type of innovation and experimentation is exactly the right move for a new professor because it teaches the students how to find inspiration in their everyday lives, which proves that Anna is an excellent addition to the art program,” Revett said.

Fitz Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and by appointment Fridays and Saturdays (email jrevett@wtamu.edu).

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Photo courtesy of WTAMU
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Anna Lemnitzer's "Serenity" is among pieces to be featured in an exhibition of her work opening Jan. 27.

Jenny Inzerillo joined HPPR in 2015 as the host of High Plains Morning, our live music program that airs weekdays at 9 am to noon CST. Broadcasting from KJJP in beautiful downtown Amarillo, she helps listeners wake up with inspired music from our region and beyond. Tune in for new voices in folk/Americana, deep cuts from your favorite artists, soulful tracks from singer/songwriters across the world, and toe-tapping classics dating as far back as the 1920s. Plus, discover underground greats that just might be your new favorite band.