Wonder Fair, a staple of downtown Lawrence, reopened its art gallery in early October after shutting down early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Wonder Gallery, owned by the stationery and art supply store, is currently featuring work by a local artist.
The reopening is a return to Wonder Fair’s roots, which began as a gallery space in 2008. Owners Meredith Moore and Paul DeGeorge decided to move the exhibitions to an alternate location, 15 W. 9th Street, in 2019. When businesses shut down because of the pandemic, Moore and DeGeorge decided to focus all of their resources on Wonder Fair, and put a pause on the gallery.
“It just took us a while to find that creative energy to jump back into that space,” DeGeorge said.
Wonder Gallery’s first exhibition opened with works by Matthew WIllie Garcia, a printmaker who got his master’s degree at the University of Kansas. This exhibition, Quantum States and Queer Realities, is inspired by the space-time continuum. It relates the fluid nature of time and space to existence, and specifically what it means to be queer, in the form of prints.
“We’re extremely thrilled to be hosting that show now, because in the intervening year and a half, Matthew’s gone on and extended himself as an artist,” DeGeorge said. “He’s been doing Mokuhanga prints, which is this traditional Japanese wood-block printing technique, so he’s brought his vividly-colored works into that old-school traditional media, so it’s a really cool sort of juxtaposition.”
Wonder Gallery not only houses art, but retail items as well. The year and half that Wonder Gallery was closed was spent determining how to best use the space.
“So, that meant adding a little more in the way of retail that people can buy if they’re not going to be buying pieces from the exhibit,” DeGeorge said.
With time, DeGeorge said Wonder Gallery may host live events for the Lawrence community, but the focus remains on the exhibition as the space gets started again.
“Everybody who’s come in so far has been really enthusiastic about the show and about the space, and the kind of expanded retail we’re doing there,” DeGeorge said.
Quantum States and Queer Realities will be at Wonder Gallery through January, which is open Thursday through Sunday, 12-6 p.m.