Acclaimed Kansas artist Phil Epp was born and raised in rural Nebraska, where he developed a love for landscape — open spaces and long horizons. After attending Newton schools, teaching art in the Newton public school system for 29 years, and enjoying work as an accomplished artist in a variety or media, he still lives in a rural setting — just outside of Newton, where there’s plenty of space for his studio and horses.

“The city is always in the distance,” Epp said.

That perspective has shaped much of his work as an artist. His new exhibit, the first in the area for many years, opens at Carriage Factory Art Gallery, 128 E. Sixth St., on Saturday with the title “Miles from Town: Phil Epp.” The opening reception begins at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.

Epp’s exhibit will feature a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, etchings and photographs.

“It’s like a mini retrospective," he said. "There will be some older pieces plus study models and paintings in addition to new work. It’s a good opportunity for me to exhibit locally."

Epp is one of three area artists who were involved in creating the Blue Sky Sculpture in Newton’s Centennial Park. Many of his works of art include clouds, open prairie, horses, and, most recently, moonscapes. He has commissioned work on display at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City and at the Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane.

“We are delighted to have Phil Epp as our first featured artist of 2014,” said Susan Koehn, Carriage Factory Gallery board president. “He is a local artist whom many know and love, and he is also an artist of national acclaim. I think many in our community and south-central Kansas will be excited for the opportunity to see his work on display here in Newton.”

Epp will give a short talk at the opening reception for his new exhibit, which will be on display through March 22.

For more information about the gallery or exhibits, call 284-2749.