Emily Arthur, Scrub Sage (with red bird shadows), 2016. Acrylic medium on glazed paper with screen printed elements and chine collé, 30 x 22 inches.
Emily Arthur is a printmaker who works within the tradition of the natural history print to address contemporary environmental concerns. Her sensitivity to these issues is shaped, in part, by her Native American heritage. A recent body of work, Endangered, takes as its subject the California Gnatcatcher, a small bird that is at the center of a nasty confrontation between environmentalists and developers. It layers together scientific diagrams of DNA sequencing, maps tracking forced wildlife migrations, and delicate renderings of birds, butterflies, and plant varieties. The elements of each print combine to poetically express the ways in which species of flora and fauna carry the story of human impact on the natural world. In a print Arthur created for the Triennial, and which marks the beginning of a new research project, she focuses on the conservation of migrating cranes.
Printmaking - Ashland, WI - View Bio
Brendan BaylorExcavation Site, from the series Transmission Networks, 2016. Screenprint and coal dust on Mylar, 56 x 37 ¾ inches.
Brendan Baylor is an interdisciplinary artist who mobilizes his various mediums to explore the history, economy, and ecology of place. He interrogates the motivations behind land management practices, giving image to those entities (human, animal, plant, etc.) least served by the economic and political systems that govern land use. His print-based works included in the Triennial question the far-reaching consequences of a non-holistic approach to the landscape as precipitated by human consumption of resources and energy. 50 Million Acres is a large-scale woodcut and screenprint of a barren landscape studded with tree stumps. Baylor refers in its title to the amount of territory between Lake Huron and the Red River in Minnesota that has been devastated through the clearcutting of the lumber industry.
Photography - Shorewood, WI - View Bio
Lois Bielefeld, Wednesday: Willie Mae. 2013, from the series Weeknight Dinners, 2013–15. Color photograph, 25 x 36 inches.
Lois Bielefeld photographs the people and communities around her, creating a body of work inspired by the emotions behind daily life. In her Weeknight Dinner series, Bielefeld explores the rituals of the nightly meal. Although all of her subjects engage in the same custom, each photograph takes us inside the private space of a home and reveals the nuances inherent in this shared convention. From mother and daughter sharing a box of delivered pizza, to a plated meal on a gold lamé couch in an elaborately decorated living room, to a lonely dinner of leftovers eaten from Tupperware containers, these photographs offer us a poignant portrait of domestic life.
Multimedia - Milwaukee, WI - View Bio
Ted Brusubardis, Pacel Galvu (Raise Your Head), Musings of a Conductor, 2015-16. 4-channel synchronized video with stereo sound, 08:56 minutes.
Ted Brusubardis merges the formal elements of sound design, filmmaking, and music composition to create enveloping works of multimedia art. Pacel Galvu is a synchronized 4-channel video that presents three generations of Brusubardis’s family performing a 500 year-old Latvian folk song. The piece opens with the artist’s father and brother, both conducting in silence, facing each other on opposite walls. Brudsubardis’s nephew appears on the wall between the two men, playing his violin in response to his elders’ movements. Additional members of the family enter into the projected piece, wearing traditional Latvian attire and singing in unison the lyrics to Pacel Galvu. The garments, which the artist’s grandmother carried with her from Latvia and through the German refugee camps after World War II, offer a physical reminder of the family’s history. As a whole, the piece speaks to the ways in which identity can be constructed and expressed through a connection to and respect for familial heritage—in this case, the preservation and performance of folk music.
Painting - Madison, WI - View Bio
Derrick Buisch, Look Out Tower (detail sketch), 2016. Painting on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Tory Folliard Gallery, Milwaukee.
Over the past twelve years, Derrick Buisch has created paintings informed by ordinary, everyday visual information, thereby establishing his own idiosyncratic visual language. More recently, he has transitioned into a more automatic, abstract painting vocabulary that investigates drawing, structure, and color. The freely drawn elements of the painting are circuitous, a dense weave of looping lines resulting from repetition, reconfiguration, and recycling of marks that are simultaneously lyrical and clumsy. For the Triennial, Buisch has created four site-specific paintings on canvas, which he variously locates in the museum lobby, second floor landing, and main galleries, and which seem to be natural extensions of the wall. The floor-to-ceiling paintings are eccentrically sized to fit out-of-the-way locations that are not intended as traditional exhibition space. The viewer’s experience of the paintings is one of discovery, calling attention to the unnoticed architectural features of the museum.
Photography - Sturgeon Bay, WI - View Bio
James Cagle, Domestic Image (Jar with Edge), 2015. Archival digital pigment print, 12 x 18 inches.
James Cagle is an accomplished photographer who, in his most recent body of work, seeks beauty in the commonplace. For his photographs in the Domestic Images series, Cagle used his apartment complex in Sturgeon Bay as a backdrop for discovering everyday objects and overlooked spaces. His contemplative eye captures them in spare and elegant compositions, distinguished by their clear and lyrical color. In isolating those things and moments found within his immediate surroundings—a box of Kleenex, a laundry cart, a hallway staircase, sunlight on a wall—he draws on the formalist idiom of modernist photography to achieve a deeply personal vision.
TetraPAKMAN / Victor Castro
Mixed-media - Madison, WI - View Bio
TetraPAKMAN, About the future mA03/11 (Dreaming), 2016. Plastic structures and zip ties. Courtesy of the artist.
TetraPAKMAN (Victor Castro) is committed to both environmental and social change, and creates thought-provoking sculptures and installations using materials most people consider trash: plastic bottles, metal cans, Tetra Pak cartons, bottle caps, yogurt containers, and so on. His inventive approach to his materials results in evolving sculptures that play with repetitive pattering, the movement of light and shadow, and structural ingenuity. Central to his artistic process is generating a network of people who not only provide the raw material for the sculpture, but also contribute their energy to the project by adding on segments to the larger piece over time. Castro leverages these interpersonal interactions to teach individuals and communities about environmental issues. At MMoCA, Castro will work with students involved in the museum’s ArtZone program to construct a colorful and expansive installation from discarded plastic pipette holders and zip ties.
Installation - Milwaukee, WI - View Bio
Ray Chi, Noodle Around, 2016. Polyethylene foam and steel, dimensions variable.
Ray Chi combines his background in architecture with an inventive approach to materials to create playful sculptures and installations. For the Triennial, he constructed a site-specific installation for the museum’s Rooftop Sculpture Garden using foam pool noodles. The normally buoyant floatation toys are secured to each other and to the rooftop with an armature of steel hidden beneath the soft, cylindrical tubes. The sinuous and continuously looping sculpture reaches upwards to curve and twist in the air, swoops down to hook around itself, curling, bending, and worming its way through the space. With its freeform, curvilinear shape, Chi’s sculpture feels gestural and abstract in nature. However, moving beyond the elements of color, shape, and line that characterize purely formalist explorations, the artist connects his work to the here and now by using recognizable, every-day material. The rounded forms and bright colors of the foam pool noodles also resemble contemporary playground designs, an intentional visual congruency that enabled Chi to cleverly use sculptural abstraction to hint at the familiar.
Spatula & Barcode
Performance - Madison, WI - View Bio
Laurie Beth Clark and Michael Peterson of the collaborative Spatula&Barcode, Foodways Melbourne (Federation Square Public Dinners), 2016. Performance / social practice. Courtesy of the artists.
Founded by Laurie Beth Clark and Michael Peterson, the collaborative Spatula & Barcode engages in relational art through staging discourses about and involving food. Calling attention to how the movement of food shapes and is shaped by our ways of living within the state of Wisconsin, the artists have developed Feeding Farmers as part of their larger project Foodways Madison. For this weekly social performance, which takes place in MMoCA’s lobby, Spatula & Barcode have recruited a number of local artists who will each prepare a meal to share with a Wisconsin farmer. Feeding Farmers uses food as a catalyst for sharing knowledge and opening up conversations about food movement, infrastructure, sustainability, and food culture. Spatula & Barcode also partnered with Sylvie Rosenthal and the visiting collective NyamNyam to design and construct a table that will be “activated” during each gastronomic event.
Ceramic - Appleton, WI - View Bio
Craig Clifford, Abide, 2015. Slip-cast and hand-built ceramic with found ceramic objects, 10 x 20 x 9 inches.
Craig Clifford is a ceramist attracted to the intersection between high and low culture. He wishes to transform the everyday, especially the unnoticed, into something magical. His works are accumulations of found objects. Free standing or wall bound, they are dense assemblages of mass-produced slip-cast objects—often trite and sentimental. Clifford uses objects, such as teapots, cups, and saucers, which he either retains as whole or cuts into fragments. He then grafts them together, arranging them in ways that momentarily halt our recognition. By re-contextualizing these objects and blurring their original functions, Clifford takes the ordinary and makes it unfamiliar and beautiful.
Portia Cobb is a video artist who began her most recent project, Performing Grace, in response to the 2015 massacre of nine African American church members by a self-described white supremacist in Charleston, South Carolina. This video series will eventually be comprised of nine individual vignettes, or movements, with each short video exploring how the attribute of grace might be embodied. Is it a willful silence? A performance of forgiveness in order to quiet one’s own anger? An act of mercy to please others? The first movement features Cobb’s 94-year-old mother performing the repetitive task of shelling cowpeas—a symbolic act that recalls her upbringing in the south, where cowpeas were an African American staple. The crackling rhythm of her meditative activity is interspersed with personal recollections of the past and her poignant articulation of what it means to move beyond sorrow.
Painting - Milwaukee, WI
Katy Cowan, Brick, Feet, Rope, Additions, 2016. Sun-sensitive paint on cotton, dyed fabric additions; 84 x 24 x 2 inches. Courtesy of Cherry and Martin Gallery and the artist.
Painting - De Pere, WI - View Bio
Kristy Deetz, Christmas Rising, 2016. Acrylic paint on digital pattern printed on silk, with image transfers and embroidery on canvas, 36 x 36 inches.
Kristy Deetz’s series, Holidays Unfolding, is an extension of her Veil Paintings that incorporated patterned and painted fabric. Blending fine art and textile crafts, Deetz takes pleasure in the folds and creases of her fabrics, which in the new work is embellished with stitching. Rabbit and Kitty Boy—the former inspired by Lewis Carroll’s March Hare in the Alice stories—are her key subjects. These mischievous bundles of energy cavort among fantastical objects and settings in realms that are filled with dark humor, visual puns, and spiritual puzzles. For Deetz, her paintings are “living still lifes” with topsy-turvy things and animals in antic motion that replace the inanimate objects of the traditional table-top still life. Yet according to the artist, her rambunctious still lifes remain close in meaning to the original art-historical genre as meditations on mortality and life’s transience.
R. Christian Egger
Photography - Marshfield, WI - View Bio
R. Christian Egger, Present Past Past Present, 2015. Photographic collage, 14 x 40 inches.
R. Christian Egger creates dense collages of found and new photographs that combine organic imagery of fish and wildlife with footage of urban settings and train cars. He also incorporates water-stained scraps of paper and other unexpected detritus into his assemblages, all of which are adhered together with aged photo edges and a healthy amount of tape. In these works of art that notably display their means of construction, Egger reveals his own personal landscape—a space where the grittiness of the world is overcome by the haunting beauty of nature. Speaking to his love of landscapes, the artist states, “The landscape is more basic than man, as it came before him and will endure after him … Life and death are written in its soil.”
Installation - Green Bay, WI - View Bio
Carol Emmons, Cosmogony 2.1 (detail), 2016. Mixed media installation, approx. 11 x 14 x 4 1/2 feet. Courtesy of the artist.
In her site-specific installation, Cosmogony 2.1, Carol Emmons asks the perennial question: “Where do we come from?” Cosmogony, or a theory of ultimate origins, has been postulated by nearly all human societies in the form of mythical creation stories. Emmons’s installation re-imagines the beginnings of the cosmos as issuing from a tinkerer’s somewhat ramshackle workshop. The work embraces varied creation narratives and diverse systems of knowledge, including alchemy, literature, mechanics, epistemology, and astrology. Emmons believes the cosmos to be vast, beautiful, and ultimately inconceivable. Yet as we knock about it, the universe also has its prosaic, jury-rigged, and makeshift moments. The poetic aim of Cosmogony 2.1 is finding grace and insight through the lowly tinkerer’s handiwork.
Photography - Menomonie, WI - View Bio
Amy Fichter, Black Tern (Chlidonias niger surinamensis), 2015. Archival Inkjet print, 22 x 40 inches. Specimen courtesy of the Milwaukee Public Museum.
In her series Remnants, Amy Fichter photographed scientific bird specimens from species, or related species, listed as endangered, threatened, or of special concern in Wisconsin’s Western Coulee and Ridges Ecological Landscape. Her photographs reflect on what we are losing, and what will be lost. To capture her subjects, she used a “toy camera” that has little control over focus, shutter speed, or aperture, lending a dream-like feel to the photographs. She saw her task and the resulting photographs as meditations: a slow, observational process, involving careful and repeated measurements to estimate focus and composition. For Fichter, they were executed “with reverence and an intent toward beauty, with hope that our desire for a beautiful world may help us save it.”
Installation - Milwaukee, WI - View Bio
Nicholas Frank, Epitweets (Sorry I'm Late), from the series 140 Characters, 2016-ongoing. Bluestone, approx. 36 x 17 1/2 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Green Gallery, Milwaukee.
Nicholas Frank draws into his works whatever techniques and materials are appropriate to the idea. His installation in MMoCA’s rooftop sculpture garden 140 Characters, was motivated by his observation that epitaphs on gravestones are like final tweets—a summation of life in 140 characters or less. His mock burial plots, some open, some closed, are marked by engraved bluestone headstones. The epitaphs on them can be funny, witty, provocative, or disturbing, such as “Sorry I’m Late,” which is the artist’s own declared tombstone inscription inspired by his perpetual tardiness. More seriously, the tombstones project speaks to Frank’s notion of art as an imprint of the artist that communicates beyond an individual’s lifetime.
David R. Harper
Installation - Sheboygan, WI - View Bio
David R. Harper, Untitled (detail), 2016. Mixed media installation, approx. 15 x 15 x 6 feet. Courtesy of the artist.
David R. Harper mixes embroidery, taxidermy, ceramics, and woodworking to create sculptural installations that fuse the beautiful with the macabre. Blackened palm fronds, horned animal heads, disembodied appendages, and an ominous long-haired goat inhabit the space of Harper’s installation, Do you think of me, like I dream of you?. Evoking the feel of a natural history museum or Wunderkammer, his work explores how humans attach meaning, memories, and emotion to objects. Formerly animate beings are preserved and memorialized, and inanimate things are imbued with a quiet dignity. His choreographed spaces are melancholic in their stillness, hinting at human mortality by mysteriously capturing the essence of loss.
Installation - Madison, WI - View Bio
Helen Hawley, A Place Where It Rains (detail), 2016. Multimedia installation with rain barrel and video projection.
A fabricated rain barrel sits at the center of Helen Hawley’s multimedia installation, A Place Where It Rains. Projecting outwards from inside the container is a video of rain drops collecting and pooling on a surface. Angled off an adjacent wall, a large-scale print, embossed so as to look like it has been sprinkled with water, appears to glow from behind with a bluish hue. And a stack of letterpress paper joins the other elements, linking them together with poetry that speaks to weather conditions. Absent any actual liquid, Hawley’s lyrical installation evokes the feel of standing in the rain. She uses language and visual signs to conflate the tactile and the visual, making the boundaries separating them porous. Ultimately, she aims to create a space where viewers can feel sensation by simply looking.
Video - Madison, WI - View Bio
Stephen Hilyard, Катюша (Katyusha), 2014-16. Three-channel video installation.
Катюша (Katyusha) is a three-channel video based on footage Stephen Hilyard collected at Pyramiden, a former Russian settlement and coal mining community. The northernmost town in the world, Pyramiden was established by the Soviet Union on the archipelago of Svalbard, Norway. At its peak, it was home to more than 1,000 miners and their families, but the mines were closed in 1998, precipitating a quick evacuation that transformed the area into a ghost town in the span of two days. Hilyard’s loosely narrative video installation centers around three main characters: The Guide, who takes the form of a grey sea bird called the Northern Fulmar, and two lovers, a ballet dancer and a basketball player. Characteristic of Hilyard’s artistic practice, Катюша (Katyusha) is a sublimely beautiful work that employs manipulated documentary imagery to undermine our confidence in what we think of as “truth” in the world around us.
Printmaking - Madison, WI - View Bio
John Hitchcock, Beads, Birds and Bombs 3, 2015. Screenprint and dye on paper, 22 x 30 inches.
John Hitchcock takes his place within the long history of printmaking as social and political commentary. His colorful mixed-media screenprints examine notions of safety, security, and protection of our country, while expressing concerns for the flora and fauna of the natural environment. Originally from the Southern Plains, Hitchcock grew up on Comanche tribal lands located among the Wichita Mountains of the Southern Plains of Oklahoma next to Fort Sill, the largest military base in North America. Both communities are a major influence on the way he thinks about life and his approach to making art. Many of his images are interpretations of stories told by his Kiowa/Comanche grandparents and abstract representations influenced by native beadwork, the land, and contemporary society.
Video - Milwaukee, WI - View Bio
Sky Hopinka, Jáaji Approx., 2015. Video, 07:35 min.
Sky Hopinka is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin and a descendent of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, an identity he weaves into his video work through a dense layering of moving image, text, and sound. Hopinka draws on his interest in indigenous linguistic concepts to explore representations of personal and collective memory, and narratives of tribal history, homeland, and heritage. In his video Jáaji Approx., the artist merges audio recordings of his father recalling stories and singing songs, both new and traditional, with footage of landscapes both men have separately traveled, to create a powerful video that obliquely expresses his connection to his father.
Painting - Madison, WI - View Bio
Romano Johnson, Ice Grey Eye, Snow Golden Angel, 2015. Acrylic and glitter on canvas, 40 x 30 inches.
Drawing inspiration from the world around him, Romano Johnson creates complex compositions featuring everything from pop culture icons and political figures to racing cars and spaceships. With their flat forms, vibrating patterns, and explosions of color, Johnson’s paintings can be linked to the venerable American tradition of self-taught art. In his most recent works, the artist looked to prayer and religion, depicting a series of African American deities and angelic figures. With bright acrylic paint and highlights of glitter, Johnson’s winged entities channel the positive forces of the universe and, in the artist’s words, offer viewers an opportunity to “recognize the love, peace, and power put on this Earth.” Gray Smoke Black, pictured above, deviates from the angel motif. With pistols in each hand, holders on each hip, and a commanding presence, this painted sheriff could serve as a fierce and noble protector, or as the artist’s symbolic take on our racially charged criminal justice system.
Installation - Sussex, WI - View Bio
Michael Kautzer, The Blue Little Red Barn, 2015. Wood, AstroTurf, and mixed media, 70 x 52 x 70 inches.
Relying on simple forms and bright colors, Michael Kautzer’s art grapples with how we exist physically and emotionally in the world. The Blue Little Red Barn references the regional architecture surrounding us, the ubiquitous wooden barns that dot the Wisconsin landscape. Kautzer hand-constructed his barn in miniature form, taking advantage of the transformative power of models and how they can act as props—initiating reaction, interaction, and playfulness. Kautzer coined the term “epitecture” to describe the concept of a structure, sculpture, or architecture that “relies on another self-defined one for its existence.” He aims to create complex stories through experiences that occur through his work over time, transforming the simplicity of the forms and colors we initially come in contact with, and reminding us of the innocence and lightheartedness of our distant childhoods.
Glass - Madison, WI - View Bio
Helen Lee, OMG, 2015. Neon, 64 x 20 inches.
A skilled glassblower, Helen Lee uses her medium to explore the visualization and interpretation of language. Whether ambiguous or direct, language is an essential vehicle for communication. Lee, a first-generation American of Chinese descent, has most recently focused on the intersection of language, translation, and cultural identity; in her words, the “the mistranslations, slippery interpretations, and lexical gaps” that are the unintentional consequences of bilingualism. For her piece on view in the Triennial, the artist considers these gaps by rendering into Chinese the very American expression “OMG” using bright pink neon. Lee’s choice of neon was not unintentional. She used a medium known for its ability to deliver straightforward information to distant viewers to cleverly highlight the shortcomings of translation: “OMG” literally translates into Mandarin as “My Day.” On a more personal level, the family members with whom Lee once spoke Chinese have since passed away, thereby rendering her ancestral language a silent aspect of her identity.
Photography - La Crosse, WI - View Bio
Linda Levinson, No. 15: Sanskrit-English Dictionary Sir M. Monier-Williams New Edition Oxford, from the series The Hidden Souls of Books, 2015. Cyanotype, 15 x 11 inches.
Linda Levinson’s The Hidden Souls of Books is a series of photograms (cameraless images) made on either cyanotype or silver-gelatin photographic paper. The artist placed a series of classical and contemporary texts on the surface of photosensitive paper and exposed them to light creating ghost-like trace in white that evokes for her the mysterious essence of the book itself. Levinson began this series when she gained access to a scholar’s extensive library. In the course of working on this project she found herself thinking of how books inflect our self-representations and how photography can defeat representation. For Levinson, the essence of photography, which has engaged her throughout her career, is most directly manifested when photography does not primarily represent the way things look.
Drawing - Milwaukee, WI - View Bio
Colin Matthes, Surviving a Grizzly Attack, from the series Essential Knowledge, 2016. Ink on paper, 23 ½ x 16 ½ inches.
Colin Matthes makes paintings, drawings, prints, and zines that are equal parts instructional, humorous, and apocalyptic. In his ongoing series of drawings, aptly titled Essential Knowledge, he illustrates any number of skill-based approaches to achieve success (or not) in potentially challenging situations that range from fashioning emergency baby diapers to safely clearing a building during urban warfare. Featuring the artist’s loose graphic style interwoven with messy, gestural text, these works cleverly address serious concerns surrounding environmental, economic, and social crises. For example, Matthes maps out a plan for using the detritus of urban decay—the ruins of a Shell gas station—to construct a boat in the event of a natural disaster. Thus, despite the drawings’ playful nod to industrious Boy Scout survival guides, a deep-seated anxiety alluding to end-of-the-world scenarios underlies the series, and imbues the work with timely significance.
Shana McCaw & Brent Budsberg
Installation - Milwaukee, WI - View Bio
Shana McCaw and Brent Budsberg, A Tenuous Framework, from The Inhabitants, 2014. Wood, approx. 132 x 120 x 120 inches.
Collaborating for over fourteen years, Shana McCaw and Brent Budsberg have established a practice that encompasses sculpture, installation, and performative photography and video. Their most recent project, The Inhabitants, features two nameless characters who take on the dress and demeanor of imagined nineteenth-century Midwesterners: McCaw, a domestic caretaker and apothecary, and Budsberg, a farmer constantly engaged in Sisyphean tasks of physical labor. Constructing period sets and embodying their respective fictional identities, the artists act out scenes that culminate in video sketches and pseudo-documentary photographs. Through the insertion of contemporary moments into their historical recreations, McCaw and Budsberg play with notions of artifice and artifact, pointing to the influence of popular culture and Hollywood on our perceptions of the past. Ultimately, the artists question the authenticity of historical “fact,” the tenuous grasp we may have on our own ancestral histories, and the impact of both on our personal understanding of the self.
Multimedia - Madison, WI - View Bio
Meg Mitchell, On Invisibility, from Fern Stations, 2016. Letterpress print on paper (from a three-part multimedia installation), 19 x 13 inches. Courtesy of the artist.
Meg Mitchell’s horticultural installation, The Fern Stations, operates at the intersection of the material, the aural, the textual, and the public sphere. Three stations, which are spread throughout the museum, are titled On Approach, On Invisibility, On Dispersion, respectively. Each is comprised of a live fern on a stand and two hand-sewn wooden horns mounted on a tripod. Ambient sound compositions issuing from the horns are played to each plant. Mitchell also provides letterpress poster prints for each of the stations, with illustrated ferns and commentaries, which are free for visitors to take home. Inspired by the Victorian fascination with the collection, capture, and husbandry of ferns, Mitchell took this interest and fashioned it in The Fern Stations into a metaphor for western colonialism and repressed sexuality.
Photography - Milwaukee, WI - View Bio
Joseph Mougel, Luscinia Xanthoplasticus (video still), 2016. Multimedia installation. Courtesy of the artist.
The multiple aspects of Joseph Mougel’s practice include installation, performance, video, and photography. Over the past several years, Mougel has worked on his Hole project, a series of landscape interventions in the Midwest that he documents in various media. The interventions consist of the artist digging a hole in a site that attracts him because of the ecological and historical characteristics that define it. For the artist, manual labor in this instance is the means to artistic creation. Mougel undertook the sixth iteration of the Hole project, Blue Lake, during his residency in the summer of 2016 at the Iowa Lakeside Lab. It is his response to the prairie landscape and how humans have molded natural environments by introducing new species that, in some instances, change the ecology of a region or, alternatively, perish in their new habitat.
Painting - Stevens Point, WI - View Bio
Daniel O’Neal, Self Portrait in Blaze Orange, 2015. Oil on canvas, 55 x 42 inches.
Daniel O’Neal declares his identity as a painter in Self-Portrait in Blaze Orange. Looking out at us, he stands in his studio, with painter’s brush in hand and a stretched canvas before him. The painting he is working on is the completed painting we see. The artist’s turned up skullcap and down vest suggest the rural setting of his home and the chill of an unheated room. An oil painter of meticulously rendered detail, O’Neal is master of his craft. The mysterious inclusion of the intense blaze orange knit cap and a garden statue of the Virgin Mary links him to the tradition of magic realism in the arts. In this modern tradition, the magical and the ordinary things of material reality can be one in the same.
Photography - Forestville, WI - View Bio
Suzanne Rose, Concrete batch plant (Cornell, WI), from the series Night Vision, 2015. Pigment print, 22 ½ x 34 inches.
Nighttime both repels and fascinates Suzanne Rose. She had a fear of the dark as a child, which may account for why she is a night owl. On good nights, she writes, “it was my time to think my most private thoughts, day dream, and get things done.” Conversely, when something was wrong in the air, she could only wish for the sun to rise. Her most recent body of work, Night Vision, is the result of walking out in the middle of the night with camera in tow. She wished to record overlooked and lonely places illuminated in part by artificial lighting, primarily the unearthly light of mercury-vapor lamps. People are absent, yet a story might unfold. In these ambiguous and mysterious spaces, Rose asks what might lie beyond the light.
Painting - Madison, WI - View Bio
Christopher Rowley, The Fascist Hag and a Plowshare Oddity, 2016. Acrylic yarn on monk’s cloth, 86 x 63 inches.
Chris Rowley mobilizes rug-hooking, a late nineteenth-century craft technique, to create works of art that offer a fresh approach to contemporary abstraction. Working through subtleties of line, shape, color, and texture, his compositions feature imagery suggestive of tubes, connectors, conduits, and piping mechanisms, all of which appear to be part of a complex system of infrastructure, but are ultimately self-contained units. Despite any conceivable point of entry, brightly-colored liquids flow or drip out of the tangled mass of pipe and remain trapped within its impossibly interconnected form. With their boldly artificial colors, the pooling liquids, in DayGlo yellow and orange, evoke the toxicity of industrial fluid and bio-hazardous waste. Adhered to a thick wooden frame with colored Duct-tape and presented as an object on a shelf, each button-hooked composition gestures toward the domestic realm. Rooted within the language of abstraction, Rowley’s unconventional work nevertheless references everything from networks of pipes and chemical waste to bodily excretions and DIY home improvement projects.
Painting - Madison, WI - View Bio
T.L. Solien, A-Hole Falls, 2015. Acrylic and enamel on canvas, 84 x 84 inches.
T.L. Solien inhabits his recent paintings with vulgar characters and unpredictable landscapes as a means to interrogate the decay of rational progress within our country. Rendered as uncivilized, destructive entities, these characters corrupt the scenes depicted in the paintings, which themselves reference historical masterpieces. The figures begin as small-scale explorations, eventually evolving into more developed, yet still oblique personas who enter into the larger format canvases. Solien also includes allusions to Sweden, hinting at his admiration of the culture, which he finds more conducive to achieving happiness and wellbeing, and to his desire to return to his ancestral homeland.
Photography - Madison, WI - View Bio
Gregory Vershbow, Bather or The Magicians Assistant, from the series Art in a Liminal Space, 2013. 40 x 30 inches.
In his series Art in a Liminal Space, photographer Gregory Vershbow seeks to uncover new meanings for museum objects when they are placed outside of their original context as works of art. The liminal or transitional spaces he visits include storage depots, museum vaults, and conservation laboratories—locations that house objects when they are not being displayed for the public. Capturing these paintings, classical sculptures, and historical artifacts as they exist in a state of art world oblivion, Vershbow imbues them with a lonely melancholy: a stone statue of an archangel is suffocated by plastic wrap, gargoyles howl in vain behind metal bars, and a classic marble nude elegantly rearranges her hair within a wooden crate that binds her at the waist and chest. Vershnbow, who does not touch or rearrange the objects he discovers, reveals how these artifacts from the past, when re-contextualized by their new surroundings, take on unexpected and haunting identities.
Andrew Salyer and Katie Schaag form a collaborative team that produces videos, photographs, and performances. Their contribution to the Wisconsin Triennial is Performing MMoCA, a durational performance piece that actively recruits the participation of museum visitors. Visitors can pick up and wear a pin inscribed with the word (performing). The pin is a prompt and an indication that the wearer is an active participant in the Triennial.Performing MMoCA is an interactive project that encourages visitors to the exhibition to consider their role and involvement in the art experience—how they respond to works of art, how they move around in the galleries, how they share their reactions with others. SALYER + SCHAAG hope that the self-awareness fostered by Performing MMoCA to reflect on the relationship of viewer to artwork is extended to the viewer’s experiences beyond the art gallery—to the world outside the museum.
Printmaking - Fort Atkinson, WI - View Bio
Xiaohong Zhang, Brave New World (Red Shan Shui), 2014. Digital printing and paper-cutting, 80 x 40 inches, each (4 panels).
Chinese-born Xiaohong Zhang blends the old and the new in her practice. She takes the ancient art of Chinese paper cutting and combines it with digital technology. Brave New World (Red Shang Sui) is a monumental work that evokes traditional four-panel Chinese landscape screens. The intricate imagery she painstakingly cuts out of red paper shows a panorama of silhouetted construction scaffolding along the horizon line at the top, and a series of similarly distinct tower cranes at the lower margin that dominate the work. Zhang creates a critique of her home country by the addition of a complex photomontage, digitally printed on the paper, of urban structures, construction workers, ancient monuments, and affluent middle-class citizens. In her contrast of working class laborers and the beneficiaries of their grueling efforts, she points to the inherent social inequalities of the new China.
Pictured:Wisconsin Triennial design by Hiebing Integrated Marketing and Advertising.