The full blown quakes shaking the current discourse surrounding Niki Johnson’s Eggs Benedict, reached me as a mere tremor aftershock, a rumor of spectacular occurrence. I witnessed the aftermath of Johnson’s creatively seismic work during the day session of Gallery Night Spring 2013. Astounded, I expected to like the piece not to have my afternoon taken over by it.
Debra Brehmer, gladly spending some time with her patrons, candidly observed of Johnson’s piece a quality indescribably awe inspiring, a gestalt nearly impossible to render in contemporary art. Brehmer, Portrait Society Gallery’s Director, profoundly noted that the weaving technique Johnson used to ensnare Pope Benedict’s image mimics fine needle point work made so often from women’s hands; an irony for a woman’s craft to have created an irreverent iconic reference to an institution women have been so systematically subjugated within.
Depending on which side of Eggs Benedict pedestal display you approach from, you either feel duped or immediately captured. The portrait’s verso is exposed, revealing the tied medial regions and exposed openings of the many contraceptives. They are so carefully secured on the wire grid, in appearance, sloppy and awkward with no semblance of the intended likeness; a vestige of the personal made uncomfortably public. This window into Johnson’s artistic process demystifies the piece’s craft work, increasing its power.
Eggs Benedict by Niki Johnson on display at the Portrait Society Gallery, 2013
I stood with a couple hand fulls of people for much longer than you may traditionally imbibe an artwork, contemplating whether on a metaphysical level the Catholic church could oppose condoms as a mere object if not used for a contraceptive. Upon further deliberation, given that the portrait of Pope Emeritus Benedict referenced in Eggs Benedict originates from a group of press photos associated with his now infamous statement that condoms help spread AIDS in Africa, and the unequivocal prohibition of contraceptives of all forms in Catholic dogma, it is absolutely impossible to parse the medium from the message. In fact, in no more certain terms could the adage “The medium is the message” hold true.
The stage of Eggs Benedict will always be heightened by Pope Benedict’s historic resignation, an eerie stroke fate for Niki Johnson. I sincerely hope they meet someday in some realm. Johnson has put Eggs Benedict up for auction, with proceeds going to benefit AIDS research. The opening bid came in at $20 thousand.
Johnson’s Eggs Benedict secures a moment in art history for Milwaukee; the Portrait Society Gallery serving as the vessel to bring this piece into the art world internationally; April 19, 2013 its semi-official first public opening.
Eggs Benedict remains on display at the Portrait Society Gallery through July 28th, Thursday – Saturday 12 noon to 5p. It will join a series of Niki Johnson’s work opening June 6, 2013 entitled Sourcebook: Martha Wilson and MKE.
Rains drenched the week leading up to this spring’s Gallery Night in Milwaukee and a tornado warning. No worries there are plenty of great place to get stuck in the Third Ward tonight. Cohesion, would be the word that best describes what the Third Ward has achieved in the arts and entertainment lobe of its identity. A permanent scene has undoubtedly formed there to support the City’s high-end fine artists, its cornerstone sits on the intersection of Water and Buffalo Street at the Marshall Building.
Once an informal stash of professional artists and collectors, the building now supports an evolved and varied ecosystem of art and design disciplines. Some are highly recognizable like Reginald Baylor/Plaid Tuba and the Portrait Society. Others like Katie Gingrass are synonymous with fine art galleries in Milwaukee. All of the residents of the Marshall Building deserve notoriety.
Look Who’s Looking
Spring Gallery Night 2013 at the Marshall Building will feature 26 studios and galleries spread about all 7 levels of the building, making it very nearly an informal Contemporary Art museum. One highly anticipated show in particular at the Portrait Society Gallery will feature Nikki Johnson’s Eggs Benedict, a pixelated portrait of Emeritus Pope Benedict made entirely of colored condoms.
Another effort to look forward to comes from recent resident Marlene Hecht Simmons who lower level gallery features her own original paintings ranging in style from pop to portrait to folk. Phil Saxon’s work is also displayed there, a mixed media set that distilled something potentially neo-movement-like.
Timothy Meyerring appears to have quite an experience formulating in his first floor space Timo Gallery. If you don’t like his paintings which is really hard to do, there should be a little revelry to go with them to keep you engaged too.
From the Bottom Up
Gallery Night Spring 2013 kicks off tonight April 19, 2013. Most galleries are also open April 20 as well. Here are the who’s and where’s:
Milwaukee Potters Guild
Marlene Hecht Simmons
Elaine Erickson Gallery
Grotta & Co.
Blustein Brondino Gallery
The Fine Art Gallery
J. Nikolai Art
Too Much Metal
Christine Plamann Photography
C. Harbeck Object Conservation
CR Davidson Art
Portrait Society Gallery
In a wily move, the Coalition of Photographic Arts (CoPA) took over a traditional second floor office suite on upper Mason Street and turned it into a a multi-room gallery space for their 8th Annual Member’s Exhibition. CoPA, a contemporary photography guild, showcases and supports fine photographic arts of all styles.
CoPA member Kelly Crandall expressed that CoPA exists to support the photographer community in the Milwaukee area, and although a membership organization, it is open to amateur and professional photographers. Crandall’s work for CoPA’s current exhibition focuses on landscape and street photography, much of her subject matter being people and architecture. With no less than 50 individual pieces on display from a couple dozen CoPA members, the photographic styles demonstrated encapsulate a wide variety of applications of the medium.
In this exhibition, classic portrait, landscape, and nature photographs accompany technologically driven examples of perspective, enhanced and digitally altered photography. Some less conventional styles like photographic canvas wraps can also be witnessed at the current CoPA exhibition. This will be truly one of the most diverse photography exhibitions around town.
CoPA’s Gallery Night opening is tomorrow night from 4p – 9p Friday, April 19 and Gallery Day 11a – 4p, April 20 on the 2nd floor of 600 East Mason St. The 8th Annual CoPA Member’s Exhibition will continue Thursdays through Saturdays 12p – 6p from April 24 – May 3, 2013.
Cloaked and vaporous social commentary of unprecedented proportion masqueraded as wackiness in one of the best art installations of the year. Tremendous effort went into putting together The Skrauss’ latest exhibition Ascension into the Fiction at UWM Innova 3 Gallery. An illustrator and painters by training The Skrauss has more recently taken a dive of the deep end into video production. He’s compiled a series of vlogs entitled The Skrauss Speaks. For Ascension into the Fiction The Skrauss constructed an elaborate maze, with walls at least 10 feet high with blind turns and tight spaces, fabricated from discarded boxes and duck tape. Several rooms were set upon by projectors blasting the The Skrauss Speaks propaganda films onto the maze walls.
This once and life time experience closed December 8th unfortunately, it actually took me two weeks to find the Innova 3 Gallery, nestled unceremoniously in the Peck Arts building on UWM campus proper. Alas, The Skrauss is having an art open house and book give away today at 4:30p at The Skrap Haus Multinational.
I’ll never get used to the receding daylight suffered by fall changing to winter. The premature darkness did allow the new inhabitants of Truly Spoken’s old space to feature their fine vintage replacement framed window glass under studio lighting. There’s a market around here for that huh? That’s the kind ingenuity you expect to see these days unfortunately. Nice to see someone making lemonade out of it.
Keeping with its long-suffering reputation as the hotbed for everything an urban cross-roads should have, Riverwest proudly watched one of its more established artist venues, Jackpot Gallery, open a new show titled Nicotine Bliss. The Jackpot Gallery show opened November 9th and helped demonstrate the robust bandwidth Milwaukee’s art scene has achieved; The Portrait Society Gallery’s unveiling happened to be on the same night attracting a whole different crowd.
via AnthonyMikkelson on YouTube
Unsel Fish Guild
Headlined by no-one in particular, 14 artist shacked up on Jackpots’ walls for Nicotine Bliss. Pieces touched on traditional forms of painting and print-making, and went guerrilla, pop and re-purposed.
Anthony Mikkelson minds the design spaces ACME and Used Car Studios shared his insights on the sights from his world and beyond. Several of his pieces presented illustrations of characters, objects and street-scapes endemic to urban areas. Channeling folk-artsiness for a few pieces, ACME scrawled deliberately on reused objects such as wood board and LP liners, leaving urban artifacts and relics of this current age.
Gregory Martens went ballistic depicting the end of days in series of prints that stopped time in several locales spread far and wide across the continents. As the rapture occurs, the sights, sounds, and amazement of that moment culminate in natural, celestial and symbolic realms colliding with known and unknown forces amidst the final cataclysm. Martens brings this world to our un-believing eyes applying print-making techniques to oversized paper.
A Matter of Medium
As much about the final product, as the method of reaching the consumable image, the works comprising the Nicotine Bliss installation all share the desire to go new places, off-canvas, and away from acrylic paint. Paul Kjelland really stood tall applying hand cut paper techniques.
With a precise razor blade, Kjelland took two very pop images of youth doing youthful things and simulated posterizing effects on them, with cuts leaving only the essential details of the image, then coloring them with a glazes of spray paint until the images looked as if they could be stills from A Scanner Darkly.
Contributing healthily to the Nicotine Bliss show also were Lindsay Marx (a painter of growing infamy), Brad Warsh, Lois Galvez, Levon Turner, Ahmad Kearney, Ella Dwyer, Max Senesac, Kellen Kroening, Jenna Wilson, Joshua Carol and Kate Luscher.
Nicotine Bliss tears down November 27th.
via FritsisNietzsche on YouTube
It’s her first, but highly unlikely that it’s her last. Nadia Smale has an art show coming up at Orcanine Abbey this Friday night titled Reincarnation. She has moxie and a proclivity for making cool stuff, as all artists do, with an eye for aesthetic and guts to take chances. How can you blame her? She’s not yet turned 18. Getting a few moments of pre-show reflection,artist and mentor Akua Oladunjoye shares this guest interview with Nadia for Local Trolley.
Akua Oladunjoye for Local Trolley: Thank you Nadia for welcoming this interview! It is a pleasure to sit down with you and hear your thoughts on your first upcoming art show: Reincarnation.
LT: Let’s dive right in. Why “Reincarnation” what does this word mean to you?
Nadia Smale: Everything needs a new start in life. People, art, music… why not it is a new generation.
LT: Did you ever think you would have this opportunity?
NS: It’s something I’ve always wanted. Down the line my first art [school] choice is MIAD. A special lady who was working with me took me to Milwaukee and I fell in love with the east side and saw their gallery and that was what I wanted [wink, wink], to have a show and be a part of their gallery.
LT: How long have you been doing art?
NS: Since kindergarten. It was required throughout elementary, middle and high school. I fell in love with it, that’s all.
LT: what motivates and inspires you to do art?
NS: I think of family members, friends, my cat and Akua who tags me along. My grandfather, dad and sometimes my mom inspire me to do art. My grandfather was a drawer. My dad likes to look at it and my mom thinks she is an artist, haaaa! I sent my dad a picture on his phone and that made me smile.
LT: Has art saved you?
NS: Yes, a lot. I had to keep a journal in school and when I wanted to write nasty things I didn’t. I would draw what I felt instead.
LT: What is your most enjoyable material to work with?
NS: Charcoal, it’s crazy but fun to work with. If it doesn’t work the way you plan it turns into something else. I enjoy that.
LT: What is the most difficult material you have ever worked with so far?
NS: Metal, when working on the metal rose it took a long time. Had to sketch it out then I worked with tin to make the petals using exotic curves, and I had to get the stem right. It took 3 months every day working on it to get it just right.
LT: What is your least favorite material to work with?
NS: Don’t have one, I wanted to get rid of a glass bowl [I made] that my mom has, but she loves it. I like working with all the mediums.
LT: You talked about your favorite bands and musicians, how do they, if at all, influence you and your art?
NS: Skrillex and other musicians can make the sounds flow in your body and you want to move, to take whatever is in your hand a paint brush or whatever and create, like water moving slowly when you actually do it, its maybe crazy just like you really are when you are listening.
LT: Is there something you want to add?
NS: I love doing art every single day, I create even if I am doodling in class. I like the tool in my hand, the smudges it’s life and nothing without it. Architecture, walls, roofs, food is culinary art outside the world everything is made of its own creation that’s what I like and want to do. That’s how I start something that matters… you know art.
Reincarnation, An Art Benefit for Jagged Edges by Nadia Smale opens Friday, October 26th at 6p in the Orcanine Abbey, 1718 N 1st Street, Studio 5N2. Free to the public, but donations are welcome to support Nadia’s pursuit of art education. There will also be a silent auction. Reincarnation is a participating exhibit of Tap the Potential, a series of art exhibitions to raise disability awareness.
Aircraft routinely claim the distinction of the only ones taking off at General Mitchell International Airport. Recently at Mitchell International, Tap the Potential lifted awareness of people that defy the laws of social gravity. Tap the Potential is a month long initiative of Milwaukee Public Theatre to give a platform to those that constantly face societal dynamics that designate them exceptional, and often excludable, on account of their physical and mental attributes. More commonly, we have learned to bind them with the concept of disabled.
Opening on October 4, General Mitchell Airport dedicated its concourse lobby to the visual art of a couple dozen artists with disabilities of all types. The carefully shaded color tones piqued canvases with images of all varieties, from exquisitely realistic to stirringly expressive. With it’s closing coinciding with the eve of Gallery Night and Day in Milwaukee, Independence First sponsored the Mitchell Airport show reception and invited travelers, family and friends to offer their written reflections on the artwork from the exhibit’s contributors, including thoughts on group submissions from Donna Lexa Community Art Center and Madison’s VSA Wisconsin.
On the Go, In Awe
Studying the Tap for Potential exhibit pieces, the breadth of styles and techniques wielded by the artists repeatedly strike me with their candor, thoughtfulness and proficiency. Reaching the corner displays, a painting titled Her Hacienda and another titled Her Lady stop me in my tracks, in a way the Spanish villa and Victorian mansion subjects likely would, if I tried to walk past them in real life. A quick note allows me not to forget their author, Jeff LaDow.
Continuing on, patrons gather timidly and some at a distance around an artist painting live. The work in progress gets a dose of precise and exactly blended oil strokes. The artist, Jeff LaDow, holds the brush nimbly with teeth using a device that allows his jaw muscles to exert finely calibrated pressure through the handle, his mark is true.
He meticulously works center stage in the concourse lobby, impervious, as travelers bustle about and reception goers peer over his shoulder. Experiencing an accident in his youth that strickened him quadriplegic, LaDow faces down this challenge by sharing his gifts with the world. When asked about his preferred medium, oil, LaDow states matter-of-factly “It’s easy to work with.” He attracts admirers with every touch of paint.
After October 19th, the Mitchell Airport Tap the Potential contributors’ work will find new space to hang out, possibly permanently with you. If you have interest in purchasing artworks that were a part of the exhibit, contact Jennifer Vattendahl (414) 847 – 1991.
Tap the Potential’s collaborators are VSA Wisconsin, Milwaukee County Office of Persons with Disabilities, Life Navigators, Independence First, Milwaukee Center for Independence, Curative Rehabilitation Center, and Goodwill Industries of Southeast Wisconsin. Learn more about talented artists who don’t use their hands at the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists site.
Tap the Potential sponsored art exhibits continue through the rest of October and include the first art show by aspiring artist Nadia Smale on Friday October 26 at 6:00p at Orcanine Abbey 1718 N. 1st Street Studio 5N2.
Boundless Bravery by Samantha Brody, Scholastic
People trickle in and out of Orcanine Abbey‘s most recent open studio, checking out Rachel Sutter-Smith‘s set of provocative illustrations depicting personages both fantastic and realistic; conceivably a few self-portraits delving into the depths of her own inner most spaces. A dude listlessly sits in an a brown high back chair waiting for what’s next.
A handful of unheroic but reasonably cool looking kids have exuded a practical chemistry that usually can being felt among good friends. In good spirits, they enjoy the stellar performance of two piece band Pepe le Moko warming up the jerry-rigged stage. Episodically creepy yet blissful strumming done, these reasonably cool kids Sally, Sam, John and Lars that happen to be from Worcester, Ma, take up musical arms and crank up some major throwback post hoc garage/art rock mania as Secret Lover.
Under a dim oozing red light, the front woman calls out “Poison Ivy”, her cue to her band mates to let the gear rip into a raucous fury that soon animates the listless dude to his feet for a better vantage point. Not playing nice, the drum lead (Sam) crashes his symbol to the floor several times, and the guitarist (John) snaps two guitar strings banging out riffs for Sally‘s volcanic pipes to drift upon heralding exuberant tributes to life and youth, with Lars consistently throbbing the low end. Seriously smashing.
Secret Lover @ Orcanine Abbey, Milwaukee, WI, July 8, 2012
The Dumb Over, Orcanine Alley, http://wp.me/p1hPwN-1iM
Two weeks ago I see this unruly event message from Milwaukee Alt about some month long gallery night. I go, miss mostly everything and have a great time anyway enjoying the wake of making. The taste that making makes, matters, it might not fit every flavor. In the glut of creativity Milwaukee produces these days, you can get disgruntled and caught in the affections of cynicism. Those feelings, give fad to critics. Commit to what you believe, Outer Inspirations does.
via Outer Inspirations
Proprietor and tattoo artist Mac MacDannald’s talents hang from the walls touching the 20 foot ceilings, with paintings of all sizes teasing the imagination in folk and pop art from. Presentation stands out in one set of works employing a primary color pallette incarnating shadily interesting illustrated characters, contrasting completely the deep stained wood tones of the backgrounds and frames.
Mac’s partner in the creative arts, Tarah Mueller contributes dearly to the Outer Inspirations gallery installation. Immense and majestic portrait images fusing fantasy and alternative aesthetics with traditional brush techniques cling to retinas through dilated pupils. Sullen and rich colors together subtly radiate to all corners of her canvases, giving immortality to highly seductive heroine subjects.
Milwaukee Alt’s, founder Ryan Laessig leaves his impression on the show as well with several portraits from his growing body of work in alternative fashion photography. Laessig’s work was recently featured in Gorgeous Freaks magazine, his lens challenging notions of traditional high end fashion beauty, and his models come as they are, striking in their appearance and attitude.
Outer Inspirations Closing Gallery Night, June 30th, 7p, 823 N 2nd, West Town, The Triangle featuring work by Milwaukee Alt, Outer Inspiration’s Mac MacDannald, Tara Mueller, Nick Kurszewski, Matt Nadolny, Juliet Jaeger, Damir Zoric, William Arthur and Amber Michelle Russell. Besides the obvious artistic viewing pleasure, there are many accessibly priced prints, original art, fashion clothing and accessories (including a nice selection of gauges) available for purchase.
Moving over dumb, Orcanine Alley, henceforth known as Orcanine Abbey, joined the motley gang supporting sell-outs, out-of-space pickers and desperate exhibitionist. In slacker-esque form, after Spring Gallery Night 2012 wrapped-up, Orcanine Abbey opened up dimly to launch its contribution to the mash-up Milwaukee’s art scene has coagulated.
Cool Art Please
Visually, varied and meticulous renditions of literal and figurative expression held a reflection of artist Lindsay Marx‘s mind on the wall-space. Spanning from realist plein air architecture to whimsical, and not so whimsical, contemporary projections of raw emotion, medium aside, Marx’s visual-points were made emphatically with several paintings and illustrations.
The Skrauss paints from a place seldom found by minds of ordinary cognition. Oversized canvases hold his broad but detailed brush-marks that leave deliberately gigantic comic-strip worthy scenes on a singular enlarged frame. A visual space left for blanks to be filled by your own personal dialog-ballons brings interaction to the otherwise stationary medium of painting.
Not On Mute
With music for manics, and fanatics in tow, The Manual Controller, offered a set of improvised blips and blaps live, with a sparsely lavish guitar escort.
Orcanine Abbey periodically opens to the public.
Secret Lover, Unpop Art Show, Orcanine Abbey, http://wp.me/p1hPwN-1lU
Mason Street storefronts got a new neighbor last September, and that neighbor has a little moxie too. Just a door down from the Delind Gallery of Fine Art, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers stage vintage, couture and fine art for auction.
Prepping for the Summer auction season, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers hosted an opening reception last Saturday and has several previews, of contemporary art and prints that will also on be on the block, planned for the coming week. Hindman’s auction stock includes work of contemporary giants Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, and some niche tastes with local ties that spotlight Francesco Spicuzza and work brushed by members of the Sister’s of St. Francis Assisi.
Controlled breathing may suite you well when entering the show room. Fragile and finely crafted furniture and housewares sit gingerly, made from precious and semi-precious metals, glass and porcelain. The array of rare items available through Leslie Hindman’s inventory even span ornately bound volumes of reference books and original manuscripts, and couture fashion (yes, original Christian Dior among the seams)
Although most of Leslie Hindman’s items price rather thick for the blood of common stock, many highly cherishable pieces fall well within the reach of a budding collector. Discerning taste catches quickly. As much about art as aesthetic, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers’ eye’s for design and decor prove contagious even for those who’s heels are a little worn, but have noses formed well enough to look down. Starring maybe be rude, but looking can create a quick and interesting stop on a leisurely early and stylish evening out in Eastown.
Leslie Hindman Auctioneers are based in Chicago, with Milwaukee as one of only four other offices in the United States. Previews of Leslie Hindman Auctioneers old, master, and contemporary art section, of the auction opening April 29th, commence April 25 and end May 1. Here’s what the full Spring and Summer auction schedule has in store.
Glancing out the window while commuting down 35th Street, in the 30th Street Industrial Corridor, you might imagine yourself a red blood cell floating through plaque crusted arteries. The decay of weathered brick one-story machine shops, once churning with activity, appear largely abandoned and vacant. Some shops are now schools or churches, some shops maintained their industrial roots and continue machining, building and manufacturing. One shop in particular, Vanguard Sculpture Services, consummates ingenuity found in the neighborhood’s traditions and the creativity of craft and art culture smelting in Milwaukee’s niche scenes.
In the Guild
Since 1996 in the Vanguard space and for many years before that, Vanguard’s proprietor Mike Nolte has cast bronze sculptures ranging in size from house cat to adult human and beyond. His recent winter Gallery Night exhibit opening entitled Founders highlights his artisan craft, forging sculpture artists’ work into permanent fixtures of life expression. Inaugurating the new Vanguard Gallery space extraordinary bronze cast pieces, formed by nearly 20 different artists, pose virtually immortal on pedestals and rappel from Vanguard Gallery‘s walls. Among them a large spider gently claws the wall, and a cubist inspired cat prowls.
A Few Among the Sculptors
Bernard Roberts, Bountifully Shaped
Cindy Rust Saiia, Coded Panes
Don Rambadt, Flying Fairly
Care Ekpo, Of Topics Less Known
William Zweifel, Woven Glass
Laura Priebe, Fossils of the Present
David Aschenbrener, Fire and Ice
Charlotte Darling Diehl, A Mother’s Love
Art as Labor
Nolte offered tours of his bronze casting shop in conjunction with Vanguard Gallery’s recent installation opening. Explaining his modern application of the ancient lost-wax technique that brings bronze sculptures into being, Nolte’s overview revealed the tremendously time intensive process lending to the relatively high value bronze sculptures have given the relatively low value of the metal itself. Essentially, the bronze-smith replicates stone or clay reference sculptures, provided by the artist, using several successive molds made from plastic, plaster and wax before reaching the final stage of pouring liquid bronze into the ceramic cast.
“Freezing” at 1700 degrees Fahrenheit, the bronze form eventually cools to room temperature and can be handled. Larger sculptures are cast in pieces and must be welded together strategically like a 3-D puzzle. Nolte, in this final stage, may spend thousands of hours grinding and filing the sculpture’s welds and rough spots until every surface lays immaculately smooth. Color can be added to the bronze using the Patina process. The finished bronze is fired again to remove any moisture from the metal. Applying an extremely thin wax coating, adds a refined finish to the final product.
Bronze about Town
Vanguard’s work stands tall all over Milwaukee and the Country. Some of Nolte’s more famous works include the Mary Tyler Moore statue in downtown Minneapolis and the George Stephen (founder of Weber Grills) statue. His works can also be seen about town, notably casts of Gwendolyn Gillen’s ducks on the Milwaukee River bridge on Wisconsin Avenue, and less notably, the placards on the Walnut Street Bridge noting Halyard Park’s namesakes Wilbur and Ardie Halyard.
Milwaukee goes to DC
If you missed the State of the Union address last night the 30th Street Corridor, maybe one of Milwaukee’s most promising areas for development, made our fair city proud. The train manufacturer Talgo would have solidly anchored the Corridor with a long term commitment to occupy the Century City development (the former A.O. Smith site) until Wisconsin’s current Governor, in one of his first ill-advised acts, nixed State support of a Talgo‘s relocation to Milwaukee.
Despite this set back, President Obama pointed out in the SOTU (minute 11:30 if you search the video) that another of the Corridor’s residents, Masterlock, recently returned to full production capacity. Masterlock makes quality U-Locks for all you bikers out there, and they are made in Milwaukee. The good press is certainly welcome news for the 30th Street Corridor BID Executive Director Gloria Stearns, who has noted that in addition to manufacturing, her interests include attracting talent from the creative arts sector to the Corridor to compliment businesses like Vanguard and efforts such as IN:SITE.
Vanguard Gallery’s current installation Founders runs until February 17th. The closing reception will feature a live bronze pouring demonstration.
Vanguard casting extends services to HAAT project, Taki S. Raton, Milwaukee Courier
Getting on the elevator, I dodge a man dressed in chef’s garb pushing an overloaded cart of kitchen wares headed for Chin’s Restaurant. Journeying through the Third Ward’s Marshall Building up five floors to the Portrait Society Gallery space, you realize that part of enjoying any art destination comes with the trip there. Places that make you work a bit to arrive conjure much more moxie.
Closing soon at the Portrait Society Gallery, Jean Roberts Guequierre shares her masterfully brushed series Giotto’s Eyes. A small collection of illustrations and paintings, alluding to the work of seminal renaissance painter Giotto di Bondone, serenade the viewer in the Portrait Society Gallery‘s stillness. Especially true of Roberts Guequierre‘s work in oil, detail resounds in each composition with velvety fury, easily lost in cursory glances. Intent gazes bring you in contact with her subjects emotions, circumstances and purposes.
Full of Hue
In Giotto di Bondone’s pieces like many others dealing in Medieval and folk art subject matter, imagery and symbolism stands central to conveying meaning. Roberts Guequierre spares none of these artistic languages as some pieces in the Giotto’s Eyes exhibit remain curious even in their apparent explicitness. Meanwhile four of Roberts Guequierre‘s pieces in particular tell a complex tale(s) involving several reoccurring character presences veiling copious religious symbolism held within seemingly absurd people and scenarios.
Striking in manner, Roberts Guequierre capturing a tender interaction between companions leaves a notable tidbit buried for those with religious furor. The cheek to cheek moment seen in the painting setting an older man and woman mutually beloved, recreates the exact moment Anna whispers to Joachim that she conceived a child after being barren for 50 years. The child bears a familiar name, Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.
In Adjacent Galleries
Every Day presents photo montages prepared by 13 Milwaukee personalities, including recognizable names like Julia Taylor. Tasked with taking a series of photos during a 24 hour period over the course of a typical day, a variety of interpretations arise as vertical wall space supports groups photographic portraits.
Giotto’s Eyes displays until January 14th at the Portrait Society Gallery <(hours), a missed opportunity for serious art collectors when the closing passes. Every Day closes on the same date.
Portrait Society: Three shows change your outlook, by Kat Murrel, Third Coast Digest
Guequierre’s Beautiful ‘Eyes’ at Portrait Society Gallery by Judith Ann Moriarty, ExpressMilwaukee
At the Milwaukee Art Museum, an intense collection of photographs that bring to life still images contained in Taryn Simon’s three major book releases hangs quietly. An absolute gem and highly recommended to photographers Taryn Simon: Photographs and Texts closes tomorrow on New Year’s Day, luckily the Milwaukee Art Museum is open all weekend.
In her first work The Innocents (2002) Simon takes acquitted defendants back to key places cited during their trials, all of whom spent significant time in jail until DNA or other evidence uncovered their innocence. The portraits displayed from this project are as big as life and the moments they represent in the lives of the accused and the victims, both of who ironically were victims to the American justice system.
An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar (2007) and Contraband (2010) are two series of photographs that mostly speak for themselves. Contraband is particularly mind boggling in the post 9-11 world as Taryn Simon craftily convinced some U.S. Customs officials to let her photograph confiscated items that were on there way into the US, before being nabbed. The range of items makes you wonder why everyone does not get a psychological exam before getting their boarding pass. This installation also gives you another way to gauge just how big the world we live in is.
The display of scale-models for all-the-Calatrava’s-that-weren’t entitled Building a Masterpiece: Santiago Calatrava and the Milwaukee Art Museum also closes in the Galleria New Year’s Day. January 1st an all day event will honor the exhibit.
Magicians coined the phrase the “hand is quicker than the eye”, with alacrity Jason Anthony LeRoy proves the hand may out quick the mind. Leaving his works’ presence then returning to stare again, starring once gives no guarantee of capturing all illusions trapped in LeRoy’s art. A theme of Gallery Night Fall Edition 2011 at the Studio Lounge, LeRoy joined a bivouac of artists employing variations on human and animal subjects.
Stretching over birch panel, intricate scenes rendered by LeRoy’s graphite and white chalk implements contrast and weave symbols, livings beings and foreign objects together. The edges blur, flashes of emotion appear in unlikely places. All together 5 large pieces fuse surreal and modern art principles with shades of pop and street art, a birthing of miraculous contemporary conceptions of lived experience.
Walking into Studio Lounge, large canvases covered in artistic expression offer salutations, bizarre and gripping. On the canvas lay familiar forms, a profile of a face, the appendage of an animal, a human body clothed. The forms meld together, a technique exquisitely conveyed by Jenie Gao. Featured on Gallery Night at Studio Lounge, Jenie Gao masterfully persuades her audiences to leave their realities’ and enter hers.
Abstract imagery clouds concrete themes, endangering a surface dweller’s faux pas: claiming a weirdness violation. Quite exceptional, and coherent if not only in craft, Jenie Gao‘s work displays detail in the details. Executing highly proportioned and realistic ink-based compositions, simultaneously in some pieces, Gao reaches for hard to attain anthropomorphic and polymorphic styles seemingly effortlessly.
Gao, also proficient in wood etching, scores exacting resolution in her images. Graphically depicting movement that captures the gravity of that exact moment, precisely, gives Jenie Gao’s work near photographic qualities. Gao’s current works on display at Studio Lounge highlight several pieces from her recent project Thresholds. Jenie Gao’s exhibition anchors Studio Lounges’s wall space until November 6th.
Milwaukee Artist Resource Network (MARN) opened it’s Beyond the Canvas exhibition at Zimmerman Architectural Studios Friday night. The work presented in Beyond the Canvas featured a cadre of artists taking inspiration from the rejuvenation of the Menomonee Valley.
Their expressions took on a variety of mediums ranging from water color, collage, to photography created En Plein Air. Photographer and digital artist Sara Risley, whose submission won 2nd place in her category, and visual artist Edmund Mathews’ work captures attention, along with many other excellent art pieces.
Zimmerman Architectural Studios provided a tremendous venue for MARN’s Gallery Night event co-sponsored by the Menomonee Valley Partners and Friends of the Hank Aaron State Trail. Vacant for several years, the expansive brontosaurus fossil of a building, just South of I-94, housed the Milwaukee’s Retort Building at the turn of the turn of the 20th century. The Retort Building operated a bank of coal furnaces capturing gas that circulated through underground pipelines into the City’s manually lit street lanterns, to illuminate the night. Reconstructed by Zimmerman in 2011, the restored Retort Building brings a spark the Valley.
If you missed it during Doors Open Milwaukee, the second night of Beyond the Canvas takes place tonight and features a silent auction of all the work on display. Zimmerman Studios offers a spectacular example of historic preservation on a grand scale, a futuristic trip back in time.
MARN’s Beyond the Canvas is tonight Saturday October 22nd, 5:00-8:00pm at Zimmerman Architectural Studios, 2122 West Mt. Vernon Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53233.
(As a bonus you can peek in 4Seasons Skate Park on the way)
It still had that old musk that old mansions have. The rich wood finish absorbs aged air then initiates respiration of elegant atmosphere. Avenues West’s Brumder Mansion recently played host to an art soiree, lining-up contemporary artworks with steeped traditional pieces of the historic home’s permanent art collection. The artists exhibiting their techniques make up a short list of some of Milwaukee’s young and most talented visual artists.
The Brumder Mansion, a storied residential structure once symbolic of the Brumder families’ status as one Milwaukee’s great legacies, today is home to a Bed and Breakfast still baring it’s builder’s name. In addition to hosting its patrons’ get-aways in supreme Victorian style, occasionally The Brumder Mansion shyly invites guests to special events like the upcoming series of dinner play performances in mid-September entitled Speak Easy of Murder.
On this warm late August night local artists presenting in the Milwaukee Artist Showcase at the Brumder Mansion, organized by Brittany Farina and Sara Risley, upstaged the regularly scheduled programming.
Shari Solheim’s photography affects a visceral response, using contrast and ambiguous focal points to accentuate the mysteries hidden in her frames. Presenting images revealing the Humanity of the Moment the Brumder Mansion’s Speak Easy accommodated Solhiem’s subjects in time frozen, mostly in black and white exposures. Solheim has a knack for the gritty, capturing heart felt candor and angst blurred against life’s thin veil of reality and mental anguish.
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Extraordinarily sized blooming flowers spanned several sprawling canvases. Digital design impressario and musician Mike Magestro lent artistic prowess to Brumder Mansion’s art night, sharing tragically emotional brush strokes that together formed viewing perspectives normally only created when holding a flower close, as if to gain the aroma.
Paintings of large flowers made famous by Georgia O’Keefe tended toward perfection. Magestro tends toward creating expressions, as the cycles and effort needed to open all the plant’s petals found their way into his finished works. Bringing cohesion to the pieces, layered backgrounds with vertical lines and blended hues leave the flowering forms unguided, yet subtly influenced.
Bringing business personas to life for a who’s who of local establishments (double-click on the Polaroid image, brilliant), Magestro founded MindSpike Design as full range graphic design and marketing information space. In the visual arts as well, Magestro demonstrates that his talent can find its way without getting lost.
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Local Trolley 2011 Honors!, http://wp.me/p1hPwN-13I
A Commentary Brightly
In the main foyer of the Brumder Mansion, Amanda Iglinski popped art creations, that would strike any alternative medium user’s fascination. Fluorescent tones combined, outlined by a glaze of black spray paint, the stenciled images gesture, wink, and pose for the canvas.
Iglinski dabbles in the absurd, depicting a mob boss brandishing a revolver pistol next to a large dusky purple daisy. Strangely, mob boss was my first impression of the subject of the piece. Iglinski’s piece, titled Budd Dwyer, actually references a still photograph taken just before the then Treasurer of Pennsylvania, shall we say, retired dramatically in January 1987 amid allegations of corruption. Digging deeper into Dwyer’s story, his looks deceive, and the episode in American history leaves plenty of room for interpreting its implications for our society (images associated with is story are very graphic).
Capturing other iconic semi-sociological themes with A Gentleman… and Lady of Guadalupe as a Robot, Iglinski presents work that more lightly scratches the grime off of the dirt caked window of our collective understanding, allowing viewers access to ironic commentary. Other pieces in Iglinski’s display of spray paint technique kept up with the visually interesting qualities of the other works, less attention to intentional statements.
A multi-deciplined portfolio of art complements Amanda Iglinski’s other endeavors, which include heavy civic involvement in the Milwaukee arts community and freelance commercial graphic design.
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Vibrant and playful portraits done by Brittany Farina, incarnate famous personages of past entertainment eras. Gray scale metallic tones, with bright accents on focal points like eyes or lips, give visual range to portrait subjects like young Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. In the Brumder Mansion’s lower level gallery, Farina’s work complimented well the historic mansion’s Victorian and roaring twenties influenced decor.
Testing the waters of morbid, other notable Farina compositions mutate human and animal forms, uniting them with under-worldly physiques possessing freakish coolness of silent film and vaudeville demeanor. Farina’s style befits stylized artistic visions conjured by illustrated motion pictures. Fixing your eyes upon her work, one might expect her drawings to suddenly animate.
A consumate art enthusiast, Brittany Farina regularly supports other local artists by featuring them on her Facebook artist’s page.
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With streaking complex patterns and distinct color palettes, Sara Risley experiments with unsuspecting motifs, splashing them with highly concentrated and intense tones. Risley’s creative work easily stands on its own, but also does well providing themes for promotional materials and other formats more deliberately aimed at communicating messages.
Risely recently began experimenting with motifs evoked by a recent exhibition entitled Things on a String, put on by Milwaukee Artist Resource Network (MARN). Infusing the overarching concept driving Things on a String into her White Series, Risley’s knack for depicting rich textures springs forth. Aesthetically solvent, Risley’s stylistic investment in swatches and background choices build assets of unique artistic value, exercising her commitment to a hybrid technique.
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Milwaukee Artist Resource Network (MARN) challenged its emerging artists to work vertically, in Friday night’s exhibition Things on a String. Roughly 35 designers worked with lengths of string that varied greatly in size, some dangling from the ceiling to the floor, others at a length reasonable for guests to reach the objects attached to the ends.
Confined to a surface area allowing minimal application of medium, affixing items of personal import brought meaning to fibers that normally need weaving, braiding or some type of hook and needle action to give them form.
Pieces that hung varied in theme. Beverage bottle caps and pull tabs, discarded bike parts, fabric and trinket fetishes covered string to make collages from miscellaneous materials. Other presentations were more playful, with objects inviting patrons to touch.
Art Without Boarders quotes exhibit curator Becky Tesch as wanting to do Things on a String to give artists a chance to re-center themselves with a light-hearted exercise. However, fearlessly string also tied up spiritual beliefs, unexpected emotions and personal struggles. Here are snippets of what gallery goers saw.
Adam Horwitz craftily arranged oblong spheroid shaped eggs from very thing filament thread, so from afar they appeared to hover off of the ground. We all know were eggs belong, but upon closer examination, the shell plays host to the bird bedding.
In a shredded tire, two stuffed toys propped as if on a yard swing sit perilously. In place of a chain, a seat belt hoists Albin Erhart’s representation off of ground level. Let’s hope everyone was okay.
A face of Buddha in bronze, surrounded by black threads and weighted by a deep red tassel pulls a black string taught, it’s pinned to the ceiling. Angela Smith channels her meditative energy through a low impact movement process called Nia. Calling for balance Angela Smith offers a Buddhist talisman.
Curator, Becky Tesch featured 12 works in Things on a String, some of which focused primarily on rendering bike parts indistinguishable from their designed purpose by force and, in the case of a multiple bike chains, by illusion.
David Tesch’s “things” were on strings but didn’t last long, as warm air heated the colored ice molds, recessed from their cups that caught the drips of melt, as gravity returned them to their vessels as liquid.
Finding the key to anything happens partly by chance but also by persistence. An interesting game, invented by Jessica Poor and Rob Hoffman, pushed the patience of its avian role players. Key seekers strenuously tried to find the key that unlocked each of two birdhouses containing a hidden messages inside.
A dream catcher hovered above for those who took Judy Debrosky’s instructions to lay on the floor and rest my head on a pillow and gaze up.
Several older generation recording devices unwound provided enough length for Laura Gorzek to symbolically part with memories held in place by cassette tape magnetized film.
Knotted into macrame cords, bobby pins peeked out of Maggie Sasso’s string set, creating pincers for holding.
MARN’s Things on a String is kid friendly and on display until August 13.